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North American air passenger satisfaction plunges more than 20 points

Teams pose for photos after JetBlue Airlines hosted a Plane Pull Competition for charity with a May 21, 2019. A J.D. Power survey Wednesday showed overall air passenger satisfaction is down 20 points, with JetBlue Airlines scoring the highest overall satisfaction. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/7cc0f5f8b57e3f6bf7aad6c4553d8699/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Teams pose for photos after JetBlue Airlines hosted a Plane Pull Competition for charity with a May 21, 2019. A J.D. Power survey Wednesday showed overall air passenger satisfaction is down 20 points, with JetBlue Airlines scoring the highest overall satisfaction. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 11 (UPI) -- Overall air passenger satisfaction in the United States dropped significantly in 2022, declining more than 20 points from just a year ago, according to a new J.D. Power survey.

The satisfaction decline coincides with a 20% hike in average airfares through March 2022.

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Satisfaction with costs in the premium economy segment was down 66 points. Passenger satisfaction in the basic economy segment fell 33 points, and satisfaction was down 21 points in the first/business segment.

JetBlue Airways ranked highest in customer satisfaction in the survey with a score of 878. Alaska Airlines was second with a score of 876 and Delta Airlines was third, scoring 862.

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During the past two years, air traveler satisfaction soared when air travel demand collapsed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. For those who did fly then, it meant more space on the planes, less time waiting in line and more attention from flight attendants.

"Now, with volumes surging and some remnants of pandemic-era constraints still in place, passenger satisfaction is in decline -- but that's not really bad news," Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power, said in a statement. "If airlines can find ways to manage these growing volumes while making some small adjustments to help passengers feel more valued, they should be able to manage this return to 'normal.'"

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Air passenger satisfaction with food and beverage service on planes dropped 38 points in the premium economy segment. It was down 12 points in the first/business segment.

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For basic economy passengers satisfaction with food and beverage services onboard flights went up by 7 points.

J.D. Power's North America Airline Satisfaction Study measured satisfaction with airline carriers in North America across eight performance factors.

They were: aircraft, baggage, boarding, check-in, cost and fees, flight crew, in-flight services and reservation. The study was done between March 2021 through March of 2022.

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