This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Customer service is a vital part of the airline industry. And, as frequent travelers, we all know that there are some airlines that excel at customer service, and there are others that lag far, far behind to the point where many would avoid boarding their planes altogether. So it’s no surprise that there are plenty of surveys that showcase what people think about airlines — which are the best for customer service on Twitter and much more.
According to the annual J.D. Power customer service satisfaction survey of North American carriers, customer satisfaction is, in general, better than in previous years. J.D. Power measures its passenger satisfaction based on seven factors, in order of importance: cost and fees, in-flight services, boarding/deplaning/baggage, flight crew, aircraft, check-in and reservation. The study is based on responses from 10,348 business and leisure passengers who flew on a major North American airline between March 2015 and March 2016.
Here are the best airlines for customer service in 2016:
Traditional Carrier Ranking (based on a 1,000-point scale)
1. Alaska Airlines (751) — Highest in the traditional carrier segment for the ninth consecutive year.
2. Delta Air Lines (725) — Has improved in all seven factors.
Segment Average: 703
3. American Airlines (693)
4. Air Canada (681)
5. United Airlines (675)
Low-Cost Carrier Ranking (based on a 1,000-point scale)
1. JetBlue Airways (790) — Highest in low-cost segment for 11th consecutive year; although declined in six of the seven factors year over year.
2. Southwest Airlines (789) — Has improved in all seven factors year over year.
Segment Average: 775
3. WestJet (723)
4. Frontier Airlines (662)
The good news is that customer service in the airline industry has reached a 10-year high — it increased 9 points to 726. In addition, travelers are now more tolerant of costs and fees, which is most likely the result of lower airfares. Airlines have also continued to improve their in-flight entertainment options, which has caused the in-flight services segment to increase dramatically — however, it’s the lowest-scoring factor. The major change this year’s survey saw was that business travelers were generally more satisfied than leisure travelers for the first time in the study’s history.
J.D. Power also released its 2016 report on the status of airline loyalty and rewards programs. The study is based on six factors, in order of importance: ease of redeeming points/miles, reward program terms, account maintenance/management, ease of earning points/miles, variety of benefits available and customer service. The report was based on 3,123 responses and rewards program members and was fielded in 2016.
Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking for Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program (based on a 1,000-point scale)
1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (757) — Highest in overall member satisfaction for a third consecutive year.
2. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (754)
3. JetBlue Airlines TrueBlue (743)
Report Average: 706
4. Delta Air Lines SkyMiles (690)
5. American Airlines AAdvantage (688)
6. United Airlines MileagePlus (673)
According to the report, the factor that separates the highest-performing from the lowest-performing is ease of redeeming points/miles and the reward program terms. The study noted that rewards programs are changing and noted the trend of moving rewards programs to revenue-based instead of mileage-based.
As North American airlines continue to improve their product — by bringing back complimentary snacks to economy on United and American, for example — it’s possible that airline customer service satisfaction ratings will continue to rise. How the ever-changing rewards program scene will evolve over the next year has yet to be determined.
What do you think of J.D. Powers rankings for 2016? Do you agree with the resuts?
H/T: USA Today
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.