Here’s how travelers ranked all of the major airlines in the US

Woman looks out airplane window

J.D. Power released its annual rankings of airline customer satisfaction, and the results reflect a flying public beset with high costs, fees and travel disruption, though still clamoring for post-pandemic travel.

This leaves airlines in a powerful position, filling seats and emboldened to keep fares high, but the economic winds could soon shift.

“I’m always reminded of the old Herb Stein quote which is, ‘If something is too good to last, it won’t,'” said Mike Taylor, travel intelligence lead with J.D. Power.

Taylor said that airlines will eventually start turning customers off with high prices and will need to make price or offering adjustments to keep them happy.

Overall, passengers gave airlines seven fewer points out of 1,000 this year compared to last. This follows a bigger 22-point drop in 2022 from 2021.

“It’s not unexpected to see a little bit of a slide in satisfaction coming off the pandemic,” Taylor said. “We saw the highest satisfaction ever in this history of the industry during the pandemic because planes were basically empty.”

Still, passengers are gobbling up plane tickets, especially internationally, where many big airlines make their most money. AAA reports international travel is up more than 200% compared to 2022, and hotel bookings overseas are up 300%, despite a 30% rise in ticket prices. Taylor said passengers should expect airlines to adjust prices as busy summer travel wears on to prevent losing customers frustrated with sky-high fares. In the long run, travelers may see airlines improve the customer experience to keep satisfaction scores from dropping further.

Here’s how North American carriers stacked up in the airline satisfaction horse race in each class, with scores out of 1,000.

Economy Class

  1. Southwest Airlines (827)
  2. Delta Air Lines (801)
  3. JetBlue Airways (800)
  4. Alaska Airlines (781)
  5. WestJet (777)
  6. Allegiant Air (775)
  7. United Airlines (770)
  8. Air Canada (765)
  9. American Airlines (764)
  10. Spirit Airlines (727)
  11. Frontier Airlines (705)

Premium Economy Class

  1. Delta Air Lines (848)
  2. JetBlue Airways (840)
  3. Alaska Airlines (823)
  4. American Airlines (821)
  5. Air Canada (797)
  6. United Airlines (784)

This list excludes airlines that only provide one class of service, such as Southwest, Spirit and Frontier.

First Class

  1. JetBlue Airways (893)
  2. Delta Air Lines (865)
  3. United Airlines (848)
  4. Alaska Airlines (833)
  5. Air Canada (830)
  6. American Airlines (826)

The first-class rankings gave airlines a boost this year, bucking the overall trend. First-class travelers awarded nine more points overall compared to 2022. J.D. Power credits airline catering for this, as food service returned or expanded in many cabins in 2022.

By James Packard, Scripps News.

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