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Delta, Southwest Take Top Honors in 2024 J.D. Power Study

Delta Air Lines Airbus A319, tail number N342NB

Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines were marked above the segment averages in the J.D. Power 2024 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, with the Atlanta-based carrier tops in the First/Business and Premium Economy segments.
Once again, frequent flyers say they get their best experiences aboard Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.


The two carriers were honored as the top in passenger experience from the J.D. Power 2024 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, released on May 8, 2024.


Safety and Media Coverage Top Factors in Satisfaction Scores

In the First/Business segment, Delta came out on top with a total satisfaction score of 743. The Atlanta-based carrier edged JetBlue’s Mint business class product by six points, with both scoring above the segment average. United Airlines ranked third.


In the premium economy segment, Delta came out as the top carrier for the second year in a row, coming ahead of Alaska Airlines and American Airlines as customer’s favorites. At economy, Southwest Airlines took the top rating, followed by Delta and ultra-low-cost-carrier Allegiant Air.


This year’s study was reimagined to focus on passenger satisfaction in seven core categories, including airline staff, ease of travel, level of trust, and passenger satisfaction before, during, and after the flight. Throughout the research, the experts determined there were three overt themes from flyer responses.


First, flyers are less concerned about price as they are about making travel easy and getting home safely. With airfares still considerably high, travelers most of all want a seamless flight without any hassles or conflicts along the way.


Flyers are also weary of headlines and media coverage about the aviation industry. With the increased scrutiny on Boeing and overall airline safety, the study found airlines who had negative news coverage scored 400 points lower than the previous year.


Finally, the investment in the “people side” of the airline business is getting rewarded by travelers. Researchers note Delta and Southwest both increased their ratings through creating more human touchpoints and allowing “interpersonal interactions” to raise their ratings.


“The big takeaway from this year’s study is the power of people to positively influence the overall flight experience,” Michael Taylor, senior managing director of travel, hospitality, retail, and customer service, said in a press release. “Airlines that are investing in staff training and recruitment are finding ways to overcome the negative effects of crowded gates and planes simply by being nice to their customers.”


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