J.D. Power: Airline Service at All-Time High; Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest Are Tops
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees