With the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reporting that 679 million total passengers flew on U.S. flights in the past year alone, it’s safe to say that flying has never been more popular. The good news is that not only are more Americans taking flights, but that consumers are reporting higher levels of customer satisfaction than ever before. According to a report by J.D. Power and Associates, consumer satisfaction with U.S. domestic flights is on the rise, especially when it comes to rating the flight crew and in-flight services. Still, it’s important to do research before booking a flight, since not all airlines ranked similarly.
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Popular Doesn’t Mean Better
First and foremost, it’s essential not to mistake the popularity of an airline for its customer service, since those two numbers don’t always go hand-in-hand. For example, one of the highest rated domestic U.S. airlines that consistently receives top ratings is Alaska Airlines, which only has 4.4% of the market share. Similarly, JetBlue, which also only has a small slice of the market—5.2%—was the highest ranked airline of all.
That’s not to say that you should avoid flying on the most dominant airlines. Southwest and Delta, the two most popular U.S. domestic airlines, also received high customer satisfaction ratings this year. But the findings from J.D. Power and Associates reveal that you shouldn’t book an airline just because they’re popular—United Airlines is one of the largest in the country, but they’re at the very bottom of the pack.
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When it comes to traditional carriers, Alaska Airlines is second to none. Ahead of second place Delta and third place American Airlines, Alaska’s stellar customer service has led it to the top for the eighth year in a row.
On the survey of budget airlines, JetBlue was ranked number one for the tenth year in a row. In fact, JetBlue received the highest ratings of any domestic airline in the country, which says a lot about their successful emphasis on providing the best customer satisfaction in the business. JetBlue is followed by Southwest Airlines and Segment Average, which also received very good ratings.
The list of airlines to try to avoid includes United Airlines, U.S. Airways, and Frontier Airlines, all of which received poor customer satisfaction rankings in 2015. With so many great alternatives, there’s no reason to subject yourself to an unpleasant experience.
Loyalty and Rewards Programs
One of the key findings from this research shows that customers who are members of an airline rewards program are generally more satisfied than those who aren’t. Since many of these loyalty programs don’t cost any money to join, becoming a member can be an easy way of ensuring that your next domestic flight is as enjoyable as possible.
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