JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines continue to please passengers while United Airlines struggles to satisfy customers.According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index released Tuesday, airlines improved their overall customer satisfaction score by 3 percent to 69. However, carriers still have one of the lowest customer satisfaction rates of the industries surveyed, beating only subscription TV and Internet service.“Crowded seating, rising ticket prices, extra fees and poor service all contribute to a rather dreary travel experience,” says ACSI founder Claes Fornell. “Airlines continue to improve service for business travelers, which is important since they are the most profitable customer group. Still, their satisfaction remains at a level slightly below that of other passengers.”The survey is based on interviews with nearly 9,000 customers contacted between January and March about their experiences. JetBlue’s score of 83 placed it in the top spot of the airline industry.Southwest increased its score by 5 percent as it has worked on integrating AirTran Airways, which it purchased in 2011. Fort Worth-based American Airlines ranked third from the bottom with a satisfaction score of 65.Passengers were very satisfied with airlines’ on-time performance and the ease of the check-in process, according to the ACSI survey. Air travelers were less happy with seat comfort and the quality of in-flight services, the survey found.Thirty-five percent of customers also indicated they had paid a checked bag fee and those who paid extra fees were less satisfied with their airline travel experience than those who had not paid any.
Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631 Twitter: @Sky_Talk