A recent study has revealed that the majority of American travelers aren’t happy at all when it comes to airlines. Despite travel restarting with guso in recent months, with airports noticeably busier, more route options on offer and our travel staples like middle seats and a drinks service long since back to normal, travelers have grown increasingly unsatisfied with the services provided by airlines across the country.
Yet despite the growing trend of dissatisfaction amongst the travel industry, there are some airlines who emerged from the study with their reputations relatively intact – and others who may see the results as a wake-up call. Here’s a closer look at the details of the study, including what was measured, how airlines stacked up against one another and what the results say about air travel at present.
Study Reveals Dissatisfaction – What Travelers Should Know
The study into the levels of satisfaction amongst US travelers towards air travel in the US was carried out by American consumer research, data, and analytics firm J.D. Power. The study measured passenger satisfaction in eight key areas – aircraft, baggage, boarding, check-in, cost and fees, flight crew, in-flight services and reservation – and was a year long in its scope, carried out between March 2021 and March 2022.
Whilst the company has been carrying out the study since 1993, this year marked the first time that it had split its results into three areas:
- The best airlines for first and business class flights
- The best for premium economy flights
- The best for economy/basic economy flights
According to the study, the best airline for first and business class flights is JetBlue Airways. JetBlue also came out on top when it came to premium economy flights, whilst Southwest took the top spot when it came to economy/basic economy offerings.
JetBlue’s rating of 878 out of 1000 in the first and business class category saw it narrowly beat Alaska Airlines, who came second with 876. Close behind in third was Delta, with a score of 862. The same three airlines also comprised the top three in the premium economy category, with JetBlue coming out on top, Delta in second and Alaska in third. According to Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power, JetBlue’s strengths lay in its in-flight entertainment offerings.
For economy/basic economy, Southwest Airlines took first place with a score of 849, whilst JetBlue Airways (828) came second and Delta Air Lines (813) third. American Airlines, Frontier and WestJet were ranked as the three worst airlines for economy/basic economy flights, coming in at ninth, tenth and eleventh place in the rankings respectively.
Yet more concerning than the performance of individual airlines is the general overall trends that the study illuminated, as overall passenger satisfaction declined by more than 20 points compared to last year. Satisfaction towards food and beverage fell by 38 points in the premium economy segment and 12 points in the first/business segment, as the effects of the pandemic lingered on.
The cost of air travel was also a major factor in the levels of dissatisfaction towards the industry. A heady cocktail of issues such as increasing demand for flights, staff shortages and rising fuel prices have caused ticket prices to soar, leading to a significant fall in satisfaction towards the cost and fees of travel in economy/basic economy (-33), premium economy (-66 points) and first/business class (-21).
However, there may be hope yet. Several of the issues that travelers were unsatisfied towards – such as food and beverage services and the rise in travel costs – can be directly attributed to the pandemic. Throw confusing restrictions and mask policies into the mix and it’s easy to understand why a return to travel after so long without it could leave passengers feeling distinctly underwhelmed. As the situation continues to improve around the world, air travel is bound to return to how we remember it – for better or for worse.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com