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Passengers are more satisfied with airlines, new report says


Free snacks in coach are making passengers happier.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, airlines improved their customer satisfaction by adding back free snacks and increasing the quality of in-flight entertainment. The industry’s satisfaction rating is up 4.3 percent to 72 on a 100-point scale, the highest it’s been since 1994.

“Historically, people were generally happy before they got on the plane. Now, that is changing,” said Claes Fornell, ASCI chairman. “New planes, more options for in-flight entertainment, and return of free snacks have resulted in higher passenger satisfaction.”

JetBlue Airways and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines both claimed the top spot with a rating of 80. Fort Worth-based American Airlines improved its rating by 9 percent to 72 points.

Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines had the largest improvement, increasing its score by 15 percent. However, the airline, which charges several fees for services, remains the lowest-ranked airline with a score of 62.

Despite the improvements, airlines still rank behind hotels and Internet travel services in the ACSI study. The ASCI compiles data from interviews of over 70,000 customers annually to evaluate customer satisfaction in 43 different industries.