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New report: These are the best and worst airlines in 2018

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Mike Timmermann, Clark.com

Despite stories about nightmare flights that seem to make news headlines every other week, a new study finds that overall passenger satisfaction with North American airlines is at an all-time high.

Two of the carriers leading the way are Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines, according to the J.D. Power report.

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The 2018 North America Airline Satisfaction Study says cheaper fares and newer planes are among the factors that have contributed to improved customer satisfaction for the seventh year in a row.

The report ranked traditional and low-cost carriers on a 1,000 point scale. Here are the results:

Traditional carriers

  • Alaska Airlines: 775
  • Delta Air Lines: 767
  • Segment average: 741
  • Air Canada: 734
  • American Airlines: 729
  • United Airlines: 708

Low-cost carriers

  • Southwest Airlines: 818
  • JetBlue Airways: 812
  • Segment average: 799
  • WestJet: 747
  • Allegiant Air: 725
  • Frontier Airlines: 693

The North America Airline Satisfaction Study measures passenger satisfaction with carriers in North America based on these performance factors:

  • Cost & fees
  • In-flight services
  • Aircraft
  • Boarding/deplaning/baggage
  • Flight crew
  • Check-in
  • Reservation

“With a single exception, airlines in North America show consistent improvements across all the factors, from booking a ticket to handling luggage,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Practice Lead at J.D. Power. “Operationally, it’s never been a better time to fly. Passengers perceive greater value in ticket prices, checking in has never been easier, passengers are more satisfied with the actual aircraft and airlines have improved their baggage-handling performance.”

That one exception? In-flight services. The report says passengers expect trouble-free connectivity for personal devices and some airlines are struggling to keep up with the technology.

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