Lonely Planet Writer

Are you flying on the top North American airlines for customer satisfaction?

Travellers in North America who want to make sure their next flight goes smoothly should consider booking with Alaska Airlines or Southwest, which are once again the airlines that lead the way for customer satisfaction.

Alaska Airlines is top for customer satisfaction. Image by Alaska Airlines

For the 11th consecutive year, Alaska Airlines has been named the top major carrier in the J.D. Power 2018 North America Airline Satisfaction Study. Alaska has been going through a period of change after it acquired Virgin America back in 2016, but that hasn’t seem to rock the boat when it comes to keeping customers happy. The top low-cost carrier is Southwest for the second year in a row.

Alaska Airlines is top for customer satisfaction. Image by Alaska Airlines

The study is based on the responses of more than 11,000 people, measuring the satisfaction of both business and leisure travellers who flew between April 2017 and March 2018. Alaska Airlines ranked highest in the categories of aircraft, costs/fees, boarding/deplaning/baggage, flight crew, and check-in. Southwest scored well across the board, placing it ahead of its low-cost competitors. If Alaska Airlines isn’t an option for your next trip, Delta Air Lines was the second highest-ranked legacy carrier. Southwest was followed by JetBlue.

In fact, it turns out that overall travellers are finding themselves more satisfied when it comes to air travel. According to Michael Taylor, travel practice lead at J.D. Power, North American airlines are showing consistent improvements in most areas. ““Operationally, it’s never been a better time to fly. Passengers perceive greater value in ticket prices, checking in has never been easier, passengers are more satisfied with the actual aircraft and airlines have improved their baggage-handling performance.” However, there is one big exception. Travellers are, unsurprisingly, not so satisfied with in-flight services like food, beverage and entertainment systems. This is particularly true of Wi-Fi connectivity, which is just not living up to most passengers’ expectations.