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Spirit Ranks as the Worst Airline for Customer Satisfaction

April 27, 2016
3 min read
Spirit Ranks as the Worst Airline for Customer Satisfaction
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It should come as a surprise to almost no one that super-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines does not perform well in the realm of customer service. In fact, the carrier ran a promotion a couple years ago that allowed customers to sound off and voice their dissatisfaction in exchange for 8,000 frequent flyer miles — and travelers sure did let their opinions be heard. Unfortunately for the carrier, its place down near the bottom of the customer service rankings hasn't improved much since then.

According to this year's American Customer Satisfaction Index travel report, Spirit Airlines has the lowest customer satisfaction score — a 62 out of 100. However, there is some good news for the carrier, as it scored almost 15% higher than last year. The most likely cause of the poor rating has to do with the additional fees it tacks on to travelers' trips. Because of its "bare fares," it charges for things that are usually free on other airlines, such as water, printing your boarding pass at the airport and carry-on fees.

Here is how the rest of the top-10 list finished out:

1 (tie). JetBlue Airways — 80 out of 100
1 (tie). Southwest Airlines — 80 out of 100
3. Alaska Airlines — 77 out of 100
4. All Others — 74 out of 100
5. American Airlines — 72 out of 100
6. Delta Air Lines — 71 out of 100
7. United Airlines — 68 out of 100
8. Frontier Airlines — 66 out of 100
9. Allegiant Air — 65 out of 100
10. Spirit Airlines — 62 out of 100

Earn TrueBlue points with WeWork. Image courtesy of Jetblue.
JetBlue topped this year's list of customer satisfaction ratings.

Of the big three US-based carriers, both United and American Airlines experienced an increase in their scores at 13% and 9%, respectively. The increase in scores comes, coincidentally, not long after both carriers announced the return of free snacks.

JetBlue and Southwest rounded out the list of top-ranking airlines for customer service, and that comes as no surprise to TPG. He's been flying a lot with JetBlue — he's a big fan overall because of the carrier's ever-expanding Mint availability, its friendly service and overall product.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index annual report is based on the recent travel experiences of nearly 7,000 airline, hotel and travel industry customers. The passenger experiences in the index include flight schedule options, check-in, reservations, on-time arrival, baggage handling, loyalty programs, flight crew courtesy, in-flight services, seat comfort, call center and website. This year's customer satisfaction score with all airlines improved 4.3% from 2015 to 72 this year — likely the result of lower fuel costs allowing carriers to place more emphasis on the in-flight experience, as well as decreased ticket prices. However, the airline industry has always been one of the lowest-scoring industries, so the only place to go is up.


Featured image by Spirit is waiving baggage fees for active-duty military. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.