Low-Cost Airline Takes Top Spot For Best First- And Business-Class Experience In New Report: Here’s How U.S. Carriers Fared In The Ranking

Fortune May 17, 2023


Low-Cost Airline Takes Top Spot For Best First- And Business-Class Experience In New Report: Here’s How U.S. Carriers Fared In The Ranking

Thousands of air passengers have shared their thoughts on how major airlines have been performing over the past year.

In its 2023 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, consumer insights firm J.D. Power named budget carrier JetBlue the best airline for travelers flying first or business class.

It was the second consecutive year that JetBlue beat Delta to the top spot when it came to satisfaction with their top-tier travel class offerings.

J.D. Power’s findings were based on responses from 7,774 passengers, who were polled between March 2022 and March 2023. Participants needed to have flown on a major North American airline in the month prior to completing the survey.

The study asked participants to rate airlines on which they had traveled based on eight factors: aircraft; baggage; boarding; check-in; cost and fees; flight crew; in-flight services; and reservations.

According to the poll, business- and first-class fliers were the least happy with American Airlines and Air Canada.

When it came to economy class, Southwest Air Lines was the top performer, followed by Delta and JetBlue. Alaska Airlines and WestJet rounded out the top five.

Southwest topped the economy ranking despite reportedly being one of the most complained-about U.S. airlines of 2022, with the carrier coming under fire after a software problem led to 16,700 flight cancelations over last year’s holiday season.

A subsequent technical glitch last month resulted in more than half of the airline’s U.S. flights being delayed.

During the summer of 2022, airlines across the board experienced a prolonged state of chaos thanks to labor shortages and a huge rebound in demand for travel following the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the other end of J.D. Power’s economy class ranking were Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines, which received the lowest scores, putting them in 11th and 10th place respectively.

High performer JetBlue is currently vying to acquire Spirit Airlines, but in March the Department of Justice sued to block the proposed $3.8 billion takeover due to concerns about industry consolidation.

The airline says the deal, which would create America’s fifth biggest airline, would establish “a national, customer-centric, low-fare alternative to the dominant ‘Big Four’ airlines.”

Fortune reached out to a handful of the airlines mentioned in J.D. Power’s study, including Air Canada, American, Frontier, and Spirit, but did not receive any response.

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