Top US Airlines for Consumer Satisfaction Rated by J.D. Power

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Top US Airlines for Consumer Satisfaction Rated by J.D. Power

Million Mile SecretsTop US Airlines for Consumer Satisfaction Rated by J.D. PowerMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Drum roll!  The results are in for the 2016 North American Airline Satisfaction Study.  Surprisingly, overall customer satisfaction with airlines is at a 10-year high!

The increase in airlines’ social media customer service on sites like Twitter and Facebook help the companies get instant feedback from passengers.  And they appear to be listening!

Top US Airlines For Consumer Satisfaction Rated By J.D. Power
Which Airline Puts a Smile on Your Face? A Majority Say JetBlue, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines

Let’s take a look at which airlines did best in the study!

JetBlue Still Number 1, but Southwest Is Catching Up

Link:    J.D. Power 2016 North America Airline Satisfaction Study

#1 Low-Cost Airline – JetBlue

Among low-cost airlines, JetBlue ranked highest for the 11th consecutive year.  But JetBlue’s scores actually decreased compared to last year.  This is likely due to the airline’s new charges for checked bags.

But many folks still like JetBlue for the free in-flight entertainment & Wi-Fi, more legroom, snacks & drinks, and cheap fares!  Plus, JetBlue points don’t expire and there are never blackout dates on award flights.  And you can earn award flights faster by pooling your points with family members!

This year, JetBlue has some new initiatives aimed at keeping their number 1 ranking.  JetBlue has 3 new credit cards that earn lots of points if you’re a frequent JetBlue flier.

And, JetBlue recently said they will expand their Mint (Business Class) service this year.  Folks like Mint for the lie-flat seats, fast security screening, getting their bags off the plane first, and terrific food.

Top US Airlines For Consumer Satisfaction Rated By J.D. Power
Coming Soon You Can Enjoy JetBlue’s Mint (Business Class) to More Destinations

And JetBlue is targeting the number 2 ranked Southwest by offering JetBlue elite Mosaic status if you have the Southwest Companion Pass.

#2 Low-Cost Airline – Southwest

But all of these new initiatives are not stopping Southwest from catching up in the rankings!

Southwest ranked number 2 in the study, only slightly behind JetBlue.  And, the airline improved in all 7 factors used to measure customer satisfaction including:

  • Aircraft
  • Boarding / Deplaning / Baggage
  • Check-In
  • Cost & Fees
  • Flight Crew
  • In-Flight Service
  • Reservations

Southwest is my favorite airline for US flights!  And when you have the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member flies with you for (almost) free!  It’s the best deal in domestic travel!

And earning the Companion Pass is even easier right now because the Chase Southwest Premier, and Premier small business card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card card are all offering 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonuses.

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio if you need more Southwest points for an award flight.

While there’s no Business Class on Southwest, they’re a terrific deal.  Because you get low fares, no change or cancellation fees, and 2 free checked bags.

Maybe Southwest will rank number 1 next year!

Alaska Airlines Is the Top Traditional Airline

For the 9th consecutive year, Alaska Airlines ranked ahead of American Airlines, Delta Airlines (#2), and United Airlines.  Alaska Airlines also ranked number 1 for their frequent flyer program.

Top US Airlines For Consumer Satisfaction Rated By J.D. Power
Alaska Airlines Is the Top Ranked Traditional Airline for the 9th Consecutive Year

Alaska Airlines is much smaller than the other traditional airlines in the survey.  For example, they operate an average of 880 flights daily compared to 3,400 daily flights for American Airlines.

Alaska Airlines is known for great service on flights in the Pacific Northwest.  And they have many flights to Hawaii.

Also, folks who collect Alaska Airlines miles love that they can book award flights on other airlines like Air France, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines.  And, they earn even more miles when they use the Bank of America Alaska Airlines which offers 3 Alaska Airlines miles per $1  you spend on Alaska Airlines.  Here’s my full review of the card.

Going forward, it will be interesting to see how Alaska Airlines’ merger with Virgin America affects their ranking.  Virgin America is not included in the J.D. Power Study.  But, both airlines are known for their quality service.

Bottom Line

Results from the J.D. Power 2016 North America Airline Satisfaction Study show folks give the highest ratings to JetBlue, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines.

Competition among US airlines is fierce.  Airlines looking for higher satisfaction rankings will have to offer high quality service at affordable fares, which is good news for folks like us!  It helps to have a strong loyalty program too!

Do you prefer Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, or Southwest for travel within the US?

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 36,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!