Airlines are constantly trying to outdo each other, whether it be with high-in-the sky culinary collaborations, irreplaceable in-flight amenities, or a crew that goes the extra mile. But at the end of the day, which airlines are actually, consistently viewed as the best by the consumer? The results are in.
In its annual study of North American carriers, global marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates surveyed passenger satisfaction on seven criteria, from most important to least: costs and fees; in-flight services; boarding, deplaning and baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservations. Ranking first for the 11th year in a row, JetBlue sat atop the pack of low-cost carriers with 790 points on a scale of 1,000, followed by Southwest Airlines (789), WestJet (723), and Frontier (662). With its score, JetBlue also performed higher overall than any airline in the rankings, despite falling 11 points from 2015.
Legacy carriers were not spared their day of examination, either: Alaska Airlines (751) ranked first for the ninth consecutive year, followed by Delta Air Lines in second place (725 points) and American Airlines (693 points).
Despite our gripes over domestic baggage fees, changes to mileage reward programs, shrinking seat size and the inevitable battle to recline, the study also shows that we’re actually happier than ever with North American airlines: Overall satisfaction rose for the fourth year in a row, notching 726 points for a nine-point improvement over last year’s results, and reaching a ten-year high. Could it be due to the return of free snacks?
Plus: Vote for your favorite hotels, cities, airlines, and more in the 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards survey.