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J.D. Power ranked airlines across 3 fare classes according to its annual customer satisfaction survey — see the results

Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900ER aircraftJ.D. Power’s 2023 customer satisfaction survey revealed JetBlue has the best business class, Delta has the best premium economy, and Southwest has the best economy cabin of all North American airlines.

Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • Data analytics company J.D. Power published its annual customer satisfaction survey on Wednesday.
  • JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines scored the highest among 11 North American carriers.
  • But, overall satisfaction is down compared with 2022 as airfares remain sky-high.

Data analytics firm J.D. Power published its annual customer satisfaction survey Wednesday, which analyzed North American carriers across three categories: first/business, premium economy, and economy/basic economy.

Of the 11 carriers ranked, JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Southwest Airlines earned the top spot for each respective category.

This is the second year in a row that both JetBlue and Southwest won a title — JetBlue for its Mint business class and Southwest for its unique open-seating economy cabin.

On the bottom end of the spectrum, Air Canada was the only airline to rank below the average score across all categories.

Overall, North American carriers scored 791 out of 1,000 possible points for 2023.

This year’s result is down seven points compared to 2022 and was based on 7,774 passenger surveys collected between March 2022 and March 2023. Eight factors were analyzed, including aircraft, baggage, boarding, check-in, cost and fees, flight crew, in-flight services, and reservation.

The biggest factor bringing down this year’s score was cost and fees — which have been sky-high as a result of inflation and increased oil prices.

According to J.D Power, the concern is predominately felt in the economy/basic economy segment where “price-conscious passengers have found fewer airfare bargains this year.”

It is important to note that on-time performance was not factored into J.D. Power’s 2023 survey — which advantages Southwest after being named the worst airline in the US by WalletHub in April.

A company spokesperson told Insider that delay and cancelation metrics were not included in the survey because they cannot be reported on a subjective scale. However, J.D. Power said on-time performance “could still influence passenger perception of airlines” even if the data is not taken into account.

The overall downward trend in passenger satisfaction comes after “unprecedented highs” in 2020 and 2021 thanks to empty planes and relaxed cancelation and change policies.

However, the COVID-era business model was simply unsustainable as the industry grapples with the post-pandemic travel boom.

In 2022, J.D. Power travel intelligence lead Michael Taylor said this return to “normal” must not only focus on managing growing demand but also needs to include “small adjustments to help passengers feel more valued.”

But, after a year of pilot shortages, route cuts, and system outages, Taylor warns of potential brand damage if airlines continue current strategies.

“If yield management were the only metric airlines needed to be successful in the long term, this would be a banner year for the industry because they are operating at peak economic efficiency,” he said in Wednesday’s press release. “From the customer perspective, however, that means planes are crowded, tickets are expensive and flight availability is constrained.”

However, he said this is unlikely to deter people from traveling — for now: “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.”

See how 11 airlines in North America ranked for their first/business, premium economy, and economy/basic economy products.

First/Business

JetBlue Reimagined Mint seating.JetBlue Reimagined Mint seating.

Courtesy of JetBlue

  1. JetBlue Airways (893)
  2. Delta Air Lines (865)
  3. United Airlines (848)
  4. Alaska Airlines (833)
  5. Air Canada (830)
  6. American Airlines (826)

Segment Average: 846

Premium Economy

Delta Premium Select.Delta Premium Select.

Delta Air Lines

  1. Delta Air Lines (848)
  2. JetBlue Airways (840)
  3. Alaska Airlines (823)
  4. American Airlines (821)
  5. Air Canada (797)
  6. United Airlines (784)

Segment Average: 820

Economy/Basic Economy

Southwest Airlines.Southwest Airlines cabin.

Jimmy Rooney/Shutterstock

  1. Southwest Airlines (827)
  2. Delta Air Lines (801)
  3. JetBlue Airways (800)
  4. Alaska Airlines (781)
  5. WestJet (777)
  6. Allegiant Air (775)
  7. United Airlines (770)
  8. Air Canada (765)
  9. American Airlines (764)
  10. Spirit Airlines (727)
  11. Frontier Airlines (705)

Segment Average: 782 

Read the original article on Business Insider