J.D. Power: Airline Service at All-Time High; Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest Are Tops

May 29, 2019

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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.

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“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.

Traditional carriers

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)

Low-cost carriers

JetBlue Airways (817 points on a 1,000-point scale)

Southwest Airlines (817)

Segment average (793)

WestJet (758)

Spirit Airlines (711)

Frontier Airlines (702)

Featured image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

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