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Airline Customer Service Scores…Improve?

Young blond caucsian woman waiting in line with plain ticket in her hands. Lady standing in a long queue to board a plane.

Despite airline incidents, J.D. Power customer service scores continue to rise.

Even though airlines have been put on notice from both customers and Congress, flyers say that airlines are still delivering when it comes to service. The revelations on airline impressions come from the 2017 J.D. Power 2017 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, released on Wednesday, May 10.

As compared to the 2016 version of the study, the survey company says that the net satisfaction score for the airline industry increased by 30 points to a total of 756 on a 1,000-point scale. The company says that this score is the highest in over 10 years.

Factoring into the high customer satisfaction score was the lower overall cost of flying. J.D. Power discovered that the average airfare dropped by nearly 10 percent last year, with the average flight costing $349. The survey also discovered many other areas where airlines improved, including better on-time performance, less lost luggage and better performance scores for flight crews.

The report comes as each of the three legacy carriers had customer service gaffes go viral, forcing them to each take actions to fix their reputations. In April, viral video depicted a passenger being forced off a United Airlines flight, followed by American Airlines passengers fighting with a flight attendant over a mother’s stroller later in the month. In May, an video where a Delta Air Lines flight attendant threatened a flyer with arrest went online, forcing the carrier to cancel their media days.

“It’s impossible to think about airline customer satisfaction without replaying the recent images of a passenger being dragged from a seat,” Michael Taylor, travel practice lead at J.D. Power, said in a press release. “But our data shows that, as a whole, the airline industry has been making marked improvements in customer satisfaction across a variety of metrics, from ticket cost to flight crew.”

For the 10th year in a row, Alaska Airlines took top honors among full-service airlines, outscoring Delta by seven points on the index. Southwest Airlines was rated the best in customer service in the low-cost carrier category for the first time in history, narrowly edging out JetBlue by four points.

While the scores are complimentary to the air travel industry, airlines still rank lower than other providers on the J.D. Power index. In 2016, both hotels and rental car providers ranked higher in customer satisfaction than airlines, each with a satisfaction score of 806.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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