5 things to know about the airlines customers love best

Despite recent tumultuous events on different airlines, customer satisfaction is actually improving, according to a new report.

J.D. Power released a new report that found customers are actually happier with their flying experiences than in previous years. The J.D. Power 2017 North America Airline Satisfaction Study was released this month, and found overall customer satisfaction with airlines has reached its highest level ever, continuing a trend that now stretches five consecutive years.

Here’s why:

Lower fares, better on-time performance, fewer lost bags and the lowest bump rate ever recorded have contributed to steady improvement in customer satisfaction with North American airlines, according to an analysis by J.D. Power.

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What the experts think:

“It’s impossible to think about airline customer satisfaction without replaying the recent images of a passenger being dragged from a seat, but our data shows that, as a whole, the airline industry has been making marked improvements in customer satisfaction across a variety of metrics, from ticket cost to flight crew,” said Michael Taylor, travel practice lead at J.D. Power. “As recent events remind us, however, airlines have significant room for improvement. Airlines still rank among the bottom tier of most service industries tracked by J.D. Power, far lower than North American rental car companies or hotels.”

So, what airlines do people love the most?

Alaska Airlines ranks highest for the 10th year in a row among traditional carriers, but Delta Air Lines ranks second. Southwest Airlines ranked highest for the first time among low-cost carriers, and JetBlue Airways ranked second.

What about the other airlines?

Out of five traditional airlines — Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Air Canada — United Airlines and Air Canada came in last. American Airlines ranked about average and Delta Air Lines ranked better than most. Out of the four low-cost airlines compared, WestJet and Frontier Airlines ranked on the bottom of the list for customer satisfaction.

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How do people complain about their experiences?

Social media is the preferred way to give feedback to airlines. About 21 percent of business travelers posted a comment about their airline experience on social media, while 8 percent of leisure travelers did the same. About 81 percent went to Facebook to give feedback while 41 percent use Twitter to convey their experiences.

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