Low cost airlines may not always live up to their names for fares or fees, but in customer satisfaction, they are much further ahead than their larger competitors are. On Wednesday, the latest annual J.S. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Study for North America was released.
The report found satisfaction scores for low-cost carriers increased by three points to a total of 754 based upon a scale of 1,000. The larger carriers saw their point total declined by 4 points to a low of 647.
Part of the reason for the large gap is due to fees and costs. For example, many low cost carriers do not charge for the first checked bag, while other carriers charge for all checked baggage. Those airlines that charge for all checked bags had average scores that were nearly 85 points lower than airlines that either did not charge for any checked bags or at least allowed the first to be free.
Four thousand communications online that were received between June of last year and May of this year were used in the study. Customer satisfaction was measured in seven areas that included fees and costs, boarding/baggage, aircraft, flight crew, check-in, reservations and in-flight.
The average for the 12 airlines that were ranked fell by seven points this year compared to last year. The three highest ranked low-cost carriers were JetBLue with a total of 776, Southwest with 770 and WestJet with 733. The larger airlines’ three top finishers were Alaska Airlines with 680, Air Canada with 677 and Delta with 650.