North American traditional airlines gain traction in JD Power Survey

Larger North American airlines continue to gain traction in passenger satisfaction as the lustre of low cost airlines could be showing signs of fading, according to the 2019 JD Power 2019 North American Airline Satisfaction Study.

Overall satisfaction with those airlines increased 11 points year-on-year in 2019 (based on a 1,000 point scale) driven by newer planes, better ticket value and improved customer touchpoints.

However, “the surge is driven by significant improvements among traditional carriers while satisfaction slowed with low cost carriers”, JD Power concluded. Traditional carriers posted a 22 point improvement year-on-year in the satisfaction survey while low cost airlines posted a six point decline.

Arguably those airlines have lost ground to gain, and overall, low cost airlines Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways still outscored Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines in overall satisfaction.

“While low-cost carriers have historically had the highest levels of customer satisfaction in our study, due to a strong sense of value for money among customers, that line is starting to blur as traditional carriers improve their services and operations,” says JD Power’s travel intelligence lead Michael Power. “The one area where both traditional and low-cost carriers can still improve, however, is in in-flight services. It continues to be the lowest-ranked factor in the study,” he concludes.

JD Power’s research shows specific inflight amenities that have the greatest positive effect on customer satisfaction are fresh food, seatback games and seatback live television.