Growing satisfaction with airlines
June 12th, 2010 by elisa

It seems that despite the gloomy period of news about airlines; low fares, improved in-flight services, a growing acceptance of fees, fewer passengers and fewer mishandled bags are all adding up to an improved satisfaction rating with airlines according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates. The study was based on customer satisfaction with airlines serving North America and has shown the first improvement for three years.

“The improvement comes despite a general increase in unpopular add-on fees nearly all airlines have imposed for such services as checking bags, changing bookings and even food and pillows,” said the marketing and consulting company.

“Passengers don’t like the extra fees, but they are starting to recalibrate their expectations,” added Stuart Greif, a J.D. Power and Associates vice president.

The 2010 North America Airline Satisfaction Study of 11 US airlines and one Canadian carrier found consumers gave airlines a satisfaction score of 673 on a 1,000-point scale which is an improvement of 15 points from last year and the best score since 2007. 10 of the 12 airlines also improved their scores from a year before showing an overall improvement.

More than 12,300 passengers on major North American airlines from April 2009 to April 2010 were surveyed. Satisfaction was based on fare and fees, flight crew, in-flight services, aircraft, boarding, deplaning, baggage, check-in and reservations.

JetBlueranked No. 1 among low-cost airlines for the fifth consecutive year. JetBlue also had a higher satisfaction point total than all other airlines. Alaska Airlines scored highest among so-called traditional network carriers for the third consecutive year, followed by Continental.

Though satisfaction improved, it doesn’t mean that everything is great for passengers, Greif said. This year’s overall satisfaction score is still 19 points below airlines’ scores in 2006, before many of the extra fees we’ve come to expect had been implemented.

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