These Airlines Are Getting Customer Experience Right

More often than not it’s a bad customer experience that makes the headlines, but which carriers are getting a gold star for their service?

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has just been released and the results show that passenger satisfaction for airlines has lifted 2.9 per cent from results a year ago.

Historically one of the lowest-scoring categories tracked by ACSI, airlines have now reached an ACSI benchmark of 71 on a scale of 0 to 100 for 2015. This is nearing the category’s peak score of 72 in 1994.

David VanAmburg, Director of ACSI, explained the upturn in sentiment saying that airlines are doing a better job of getting travelers to their destinations on time, with less frustration over baggage.

He added: "Timeliness and baggage handling have improved, which is in-line with Department of Transportation data on reductions in both flight delays and baggage mishandling over the past year."

Passengers are also happier with in-flight services such as entertainment options, up 7 per cent to 72. However, on-board experience still lags with seat comfort remaining the worst part of flying (ACSI benchmark of 65).

From the individual carriers it is JetBlue that gets the gold star, soaring 3 per cent, to 81, and remaining at the top of the scoreboard for customer satisfaction for the third year running.

The low-cost carrier increases its lead over rival Southwest, which remains flat at 78.

Claes Fornell, ACSI Chairman and founder did warn that Southwest’s current customer satisfaction may get hit in the near future.

He said: "Southwest appears to have successfully managed its AirTran acquisition, but its expansion into international travel may cause some turbulence ahead."

Rounding out the top 5 are newcomer Alaska Airlines (75), which stays ahead or larger carriers Delta Air Lines (71) and American Airlines (66).