Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

JD Power Study Shows Airline Service In US Is Improving

JD Power Study Shows Airline Service In US Is Improving

"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", said Michael Taylor, who heads the travel practice at J.D. Power.

The survey regarding airline satisfaction is done on several criteria which include low airline cost, in-flight services, baggage, flight crew, check-in, boarding and reservations.

Satisfaction among travellers grew for the fifth consecutive year, according to a study compiled by research firm J.D. Power and Associates.

- Overall satisfaction with the airline industry in 2017 increased by 30 points to 756 on a 1,000-point scale, continuing a trend of performance increases that began in 2013. With a score of 709, Air Canada ranked at the bottom of North America's traditional carriers.

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In 2016, the average North American airfare fell almost 9 per cent to $479, helping to drive up satisfaction levels in the category of fees to its highest level since 2006.

According to Michael Taylor, the travel practice lead at J.D. Power, airlines "still rank among the bottom tier of most service industries, far lower than rental vehicle companies and hotels", which each scored over 800 points.

In low cost airline category Southwest Airlines conquered 2017 rankings with 807 points.

JetBlue carrier is in second place with 803 points, followed by WestJet with 736 points.

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In a statement, WestJet said it had little to say about the survey because J.D. Power requires airlines to purchase the report in order to analyze the results.

Ultra low-priced carrier Frontier Airlines came in last place in the airline satisfaction study.

- After a slight dip in 2016, problems with overhead storage have become more common, with 14 percent of passengers in 2017 reporting this as an issue on their flight. With planes running fuller than they did 10 years ago, passengers are "more likely to find themselves in a middle seat and less likely to have an empty seat next to them", according to J.D. Power.

The J.D. Power survey found that overbooking has actually "reached historic lows in frequency" - but bumping is the single biggest negative influence on customer satisfaction.

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