J.D. Power: Airline Service at All-Time High; Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest Are Tops
Customer satisfaction with air travel has never been better. Or so says J.D. Power in its 2019 North America Airline Satisfaction Study.
The study, now in its fifteenth year, shows overall satisfaction has been trending up for the past eight years for US and Canadian airlines.
“Airlines continue to deliver on the operational side of air travel,” Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power, said in a statement accompanying the study’s results, which were released Wednesday morning. “New technology investments have dramatically improved the reservation and check-in process. Fleets are newer and travelers generally feel that they are getting great value for their money.”
Overall, the industry’s satisfaction score climbed to an average of 773 on a 1,000-point scale, an 11-point jump from the previous high that was set just a year ago. It also marked the highest score since J.D. Power moved to its current survey format in 2006.
The improvement in the 2019 scores were driven primarily by “traditional” airlines.
Related: The 7 Best Starter Credit Cards
“While low-cost carriers have historically had the highest levels of customer satisfaction in our study, due to a strong sense of value for money among customers, that line is starting to blur as traditional carriers improve their services and operations,” Taylor said.
However, Taylor said both types of airlines have room for improvement with their inflight service.
“It continues to be the lowest-ranked factor in the study, as many airlines still struggle with in-flight entertainment, connectivity, in-seat power and food service,” Taylor said.
J.D. Power’s study also ranks airlines. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue tied for the top score overall. Each earned 817 points on the 1,000-point scale, tying them for the top spot in the category for “low-cost carriers.” Southwest had taken the top spot in the previous two years.
Among traditional airlines, Alaska Airlines place No. 1 for the twelfth consecutive year. Alaska’s score of 801 points was enough to edge out Delta Air Lines, which finished second with 788 points. These two airlines also usually rank high in TPG‘s list of Best & Worst US Airlines: In TPG‘s 2019 rankings, Delta finished in first place and Alaska in second; in 2018, Alaska was first with Delta taking the No. 3 slot.
Scroll down for the full list of airline ratings in the J.D. Power 2019 North America Airline Satisfaction Study.
Alaska Airlines (801 points on a 1,000-point scale)
Delta Air Lines (788 points)
American Airlines (764 points)
Segment average (763 points)
Air Canada (729 points)
United Airlines (723 points)
JetBlue Airways (817 points on a 1,000-point scale)
Southwest Airlines (817)
Segment average (793)
Spirit Airlines (711)
Frontier Airlines (702)
Featured image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.