Airlines are not the industry most of us associate with customer satisfaction. Between the hacky jokes about the food, the pet deaths, and the people getting dragged off planes, it's kind of surprising we haven't just switched back to trains. But according to the well-informed folks at market-research firm J.D. Power, customer satisfaction in the industry is at an all-time high.
J.D. Power put together this study by surveying the satisfaction of 11,508 business and leisure passengers between March 2017 and March 2018. It then ranked the airlines out of 1000 points in seven categories: cost and fees; in-flight services; aircraft; boarding, deplaning, and baggage; flight crew; check-in; and reservations. All those categories were then combined into an overall ranking for the airline.
But the industry's overall score was also calculated, and it's at an all-time high of 762 points, up six from last year, which was the previous record.
“Operationally, it’s never been a better time to fly," said Michael Taylor, Travel Practice Lead at J.D. Power, in a press release. "Passengers perceive greater value in ticket prices, checking in has never been easier, passengers are more satisfied with the actual aircraft and airlines have improved their baggage-handling performance."
There is one category, however, that saw a decrease: in-flight services, which includes food, drink, and entertainment. “Today’s passengers expect trouble-free connectivity for personal devices and airlines are challenged to keep pace with the technology that can achieve that goal," Taylor explained. "This is important because passengers are far more likely to have a positive experience with an airline if they are entertained during their flight.”
But despite our inability to stream Netflix continuously throughout the flight, things are on the rise.
Here's the customer-satisfaction ranking:
10. Frontier Airlines: 693 points.
9. United Airlines: 708 points.
8. Allegiant Air: 725 points.
7. American Airlines: 729 points.
6. Air Canada: 734 points.
5. WestJet: 747 points.
4. Delta Air Lines: 767 points.
3. Alaska Airlines: 775 points.
2. JetBlue Airways: 812 points.
1. Southwest Airlines: 818 points.