This Airline Just Ranked No. 1. in Customer Satisfaction

And it may come as a surprise.

It’s shaping up to be a busy summer for travel and flights — and these airlines may be the best to serve, according to a new ranking.

Southwest Airlines ranked the highest in customer satisfaction for economy and basic economy for the second year in a row, according to a study by J.D. Power that was shared with Travel + Leisure. This comes in spite of the company’s holiday season meltdown in which it canceled thousands of flights and left countless passengers stranded. 

Southwest was followed by Delta Air Lines and JetBlue, which came in at No. 2 and No. 3 on the list for economy, respectively.

Illustration of an airplane taking off through a departure window

Namthip Muanthongthae/Getty Images

When it comes to first and business class, JetBlue actually took the top spot, followed by Delta and United Airlines. Delta ranked as having the best customer satisfaction for its premium economy section.

Despite airlines performing, passenger satisfaction is down 7 points in North America compared to last year, coming in at 791 on a 1,000-point scale. That dissatisfaction, which is largely attributed to rising costs and fees, is part of a larger trend of waning passenger satisfaction and the second consecutive year it dipped.

“From the customer perspective… planes are crowded, tickets are expensive and flight availability is constrained,” Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power, said in a statement provided to T+L. “While these drawbacks have not yet put a dent in leisure travel demand, if this trend continues, travelers will reach a breaking point and some airline brands may be damaged.”

The study, which was based on a survey held from March 2022 through March 2023, examined everything from the aircraft flown to airline policies on baggage, boarding, check-in, cost and fees, flight crew, in-flight services, and reservations.

The satisfaction rankings come as the airline industry is gearing up for a busy summer. Last month, for example, Delta reported its international flights were already 75 percent booked for the summer. And international airfare is expected to reach a 5-year high with the increase attributed to a combination of lower supply, high fuel costs, and high demand.

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