Last updated: 11:03 AM ET, Thu May 14 2015

Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Top Airline Satisfaction Rankings

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | May 14, 2015

Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Top Airline Satisfaction Rankings

Customer satisfaction with North American airlines has increased for the third straight year, reaching a record high of 717 on the 1,000-point scale, according to the J.D. Power 2015 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, which was released on Wednesday.

Increased satisfaction with flight crew, in-flight services and both costs and fees propelled overall satisfaction this past year.

For the eighth staight year, Alaska Airlines was recognized as the top traditional carrier in North America by J.D. Power and Associates, beating out Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Alaska Airlines received an index score of 719 out of 1,000. Delta and American trailed closely at 709 and 700 respectively.

The study measures passenger satisfaction based on seven criteria, some of which are more important than others. The criteria include costs and fees; in-flight services; boarding, deplaning and baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservations.

The average rating for traditional North American carriers came out to 691 in 2015, an eight-point improvement from last year.

"Many airlines realize that they are not in a commodity business and that hospitality and service go a long way in differentiating them from the other airlines," said J.D. Power's global travel and hospitality practice lead Rick Garlick in a statement. "Hospitality and service impact loyalty and return on investment with a high percentage of loyal passengers who are better advocates for the airline."

JetBlue won the low-cost carrier segment for the 10th consecutive year, posting an index score of 801 to beat out Southwest Airlines (781). WestJet finished third with a score of 715.

Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan (759) also prevailed narrowly in the J.D. Power 2015 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report, topping JetBlue's TrueBlue (758) and Southwest Airlines' Rapid Rewards (743). 

"A few frequent flier programs stand out from the rest," added Garlick via CNN. "These programs share the common quality of engaging passengers who may not spend as much money as the road warrior business traveler. Everyone wants to feel that rewards are obtainable, and these programs are structured to make even a leisure traveler feel the incentive for frequent travel is within reach."

American, United Airlines and Delta rounded out the top six in the 2015 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report. 

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