Report: The Best and Worst Airlines in America

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When it comes to air travel, the skies aren’t as friendly as they used to be — at least according to the latest travel study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The ACSI’s Travel Study 2021-2022 shows that passenger satisfaction has slipped across several key customer experience benchmarks including the quality of in-flight food and drinks, seat comfort and even the availability and size of overhead storage.

The report, which covers customer satisfaction results from interviews with 6,285 customers taken from April 1, 2021, to March 25, 2022, scores the major U.S. airlines on a 100-point scale.

And the Best and Worst Airlines Are …

Although customer sentiment toward the industry is down 1.3% overall since the last ACSI travel study, there were some metrics that earned higher marks this time around: Scores went up for mobile app quality and reliability and satisfaction with the airlines’ websites.

Here are some key findings in the report.

  • JetBlue comes in at #1 this time around. The carrier’s score of 79 is up three points from the previous study. 
  • It’s crowded in second place, as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines all scored 77.
  • At the bottom of the list is Spirit Airlines, which tallies a 64, tumbling five points from its score the previous year.

Let’s take a look at the latest ACSI rankings for air travel.

Here Are the Best and Worst Airlines for Customer Satisfaction

Airlines2022 ScorePoint Gain/Loss
Compared to
Previous Study
JetBlue Airways793
American Airlines773
Delta Air Lines77-3
Southwest Airlines77-3
United Airlines773
Alaska Airlines75-3
Allegiant Air70-3
Frontier Airlines66-3
Spirit Airlines63-5
All Airlines (Average)75-1.3

Looking for Cheap Flights Online? Read This

The ACSI study doesn’t measure satisfaction with price, though many travelers consider that to be the No. 1 factor when deciding which airline to fly.

Thanks to the internet, you can find flight deals online. So how does money expert Clark Howard fly for cheap? He typically uses a combination of travel alerts from airlines and fare sites (such as Scott’s Cheap Flights) and Google Flights.

There are plenty of travel sites out there, but here’s a word of caution: If you haven’t heard of the site or know anyone who’s booked on it, be extremely careful. Just because it comes up on Google doesn’t mean it’s a safe site.

“I need for you to be really, really cautious and careful when you do any kind of search for travel deals using any search engine,” says Clark.

Here are more details on how Clark finds cheap air fares.

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