Alaska Airlines and JetBlue ranked highest, in the network carrier and low-cost carrier segments respectively, in the annual airline customer-satisfaction survey by J.D. Power and Associates.
Following Alaska in the network rankings were Continental and Delta. Following JetBlue in the low-cost segment rankings were Southwest and WestJet.
On the other hand, the report found that "overall customer satisfaction with airlines in 2009 has declined for a third consecutive year ... The decline is driven by decreased customer satisfaction with in-flight services, flight crew, and costs and fees, compared with 2008."
Uh, wait a minute here. I do think I see a discrepancy. "Decreased customer satisfaction" with "costs?" Wot? Air fares this year have generally been at their lowest levels in memory, as airlines struggle to fill seats and gin up revenue any way they can. Airlines have not been able to cut capacity fast enough to keep pace with the plunge in demand.
Just goes to show you that these "surveys," while generally useful in an anecdotal way, reflect the fact that some of the respondents don't know what they're talking about.
Some airline customers, it seems to me, persist in the absurd belief that they're being shaken down every time they board a plane for that $180 round-trip flight between, say, Boston and Orlando. There's a segment of the market, long conditioned by a variety of airline "consumer" writers, that basically believes they should fly somewhere close to free.
I pound on the airlines fairly regularly, but economics are very plain.
This is an industry in dire financial shape, and some deluded passengers are in for a very rude awakening once the surviving carriers manage to cut capacity even more -- and raise fares to the point where they can make a profit.