Traveling can sometimes turn into a nightmare -- if you don’t do your research. For example, while some airlines are comfortable, have more pleasant staff, and offer decent in-flight perks, others are cramped, charge extra for your bags, and are all-round bare bones. Hotels can be just as hit or miss.
Fortunately, there are travel-geared sites (like this one!) and annual surveys to help point you in the right direction, including the newly released American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Travel Report. The report outlines the airlines and hotels with the highest customer satisfaction ratings. Each airline and hotel on ACSI’s list was ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 based on data ACSI gathered from more than 300,000 customer interviews. Airlines were ranked based on customer’s satisfaction with mobile apps, boarding experience, seat comfort, and cabin cleanliness.
“Airlines sat at a near-record low [overall score] of 62 just a dozen years ago,” David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI, said in a statement to USA Today. “Now they’re among some of the most improved industries over that time.”
Some of ACSI’s findings may surprise you. For one, discount carrier Spirit Airlines ranked among the top 10. Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines took the No. 1 spot with a score of 80 -- six points above the overall average. This is one of many accolades the airline has racked up recently. Alaska Airlines was also ranked No. 4 on The Point’s Guy’s airline ranking. Southwest came in second on ACSI’s list with 79 points, tied with JetBlue. Delta, named the most on-time airline of 2019, took third place on ACSI’s list, up 1.4 points from the year before.
Here are the top airlines, per the report:
6. All Others
11. US Airways
12. Northwest Airlines
Hotels were ranked on the same scale by ACSI. Marriott topped the list with 80 points. The hotel chain tied with Hilton, and beat out Hyatt and InterContinental by one and two points, respectively. The average score was 75, according to the report. Really, though, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the major hotels chains on ACSI’s list no matter where in the standings they landed.
Here are the top hotels, per the report:
5. Best Western
7. La Quinta (Wyndham)
8. All others
10. G6 Hospitality (Motel 6)
11. Holiday Inn
12. Promos Hotel
14. Starwood (Marriott)
Studies like this probably shouldn’t serve as your only source for travel research, but hey, they’re an easy way to get started as you begin to plot out your next adventure.