There are still a few airlines making travelers happy.

By Stacey Leasca
April 25, 2018
Photo Illustration, Source Images via Getty Images

In 2017, the airline industry suffered a major customer service crisis. From the incident involving Dr. David Dao being dragged off a flight, to families being asked to disembark and threatened, and even the deaths of a few beloved pets, many airlines lost the trust of customers around the globe.

However, as the new customer satisfaction rating shows there are still a few airlines making travelers happy.

According to this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index, customer satisfaction with airlines dropped 2.7 percent year over year to a score of 73 on a scale of zero to 100. Moreover, the report revealed that all but four of the largest airlines saw passenger satisfaction decline in the past year.

Southwest Airlines, the report found, held steady for the third straight year with an ACSI score of 80 and was the highest-rated airline. This, the ACSI said, is likely due to the airline’s low fares and laser focus on customer service.

Southwest’s score overtook JetBlue's for the No. 1 spot as that airline fell 4 percent to a score of 79.

On the flip side, Alaska Airlines rose 1 percent to tie for second place with JetBlue. This was likely due to Alaska’s merger with Virgin America, which had a lengthy history of good service.

Allegiant Air came in third and also had the biggest jump of the year, rising 4 percent to a score of 74.

Following Allegiant are American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which both dropped 3 percentage points. Furthermore, United Airlines fell 4 percent to a score of 67, followed by Frontier Airlines (down 2 percent) and Spirit Airlines (up 2 percent) tie for last place with a score of 62.

“The 18-point gap between first place and last place among airlines is fairly typical,” David VanAmburg, Managing Director at ACSI, said in a statement. “Customer satisfaction is going to be lower for the ultra-low-cost carriers, which are focused more on price than quality, and the scores reflect that. The same holds true among hotels. As costs rise and seats shrink, a focus on customer service and loyalty will set some airlines apart.”

According to the report, every single aspect of flying fell in the rankings last year, including making reservations (81), flight crew courtesy (80), and baggage handling (79). Hopefully, the airline industry takes note of these findings and quickly changes course to ensure better customer satisfaction in 2018.

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