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PANYNJ invests heavily in customer service

By Andrew Tellijohn
The Port Authority of New York-New Jersey (PANYNJ) has increased its customer care representative staff by about 200 people, or 50%, created new welcome centers for arriving passengers and added 5,000 seats and 70 new food, beverage and retail outlets as part of a $34 million enhancement of its customer-service program.

The customer service initiative announced last week is part of a 10-year, $4 billion capital plan that will affect passengers at John F. Kennedy International (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark Liberty (EWR).

“Providing our customer with the best services possible remains our guiding principle,” says Anthony R. Coscia, PANYNJ chairman, in a statement. “The new and enhanced elements of our customer care program focus on the complete travel experience, from parking lot to airline gate and back again.”

In 2006, the three airports handled nearly 50M enplanements, according to the ARN Fact Book. The authority’s customer service program was unveiled at the beginning of the summer travel season during which PANYNJ expects 30M travelers to visit one of the airports. The authority also hopes to provide easier access to airport and airline information using more flight information monitors, PDA-accessible flight status information, “next-arriving train” monitors at AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark stations, and expansion of signage.

PANYNJ has also created a cell-phone parking lot at JFK where patrons can park legally for free while waiting to pick up arriving passengers, and has expanded the Port Authority Customer Care Training program for airport employees.

The authority has set up a dedicated email address for passengers to communicate other ideas for improving customer service: airportcustomerideas@panynj.gov.

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