The low-cost US carrier Southwest Airlines has topped the 2020 annual JD Power survey for airline satisfaction for both short-and long-haul services.
The survey considered eight factors, including costs and fees, flight crew, baggage and aircraft over the period April 2019 to March 2020 on behalf of 10 100 passengers. It’s the 16th iteration of the survey.
Out of a possible 1000 points, Southwest, headquartered in Dallas, Texas scored 826 on long-haul flights. The second was JetBlue (823) and third was Delta (810). On short-haul, Southwest scored 839, JetBlue had 833 and Alaska scored 828.
At the bottom of the tables, in the long-haul category Spirit scored 719 and for short-haul, Frontier with 746.
The conclusions drawn by JD Power were.
- Value for money, still, is a decisive factor. Cancellation and rebooking fees paid a significant role in perceptions of value for money.
- The basics still matter; although COVID-19 is a major concern, getting the basic operational details right; a direct flight, good past experience and being a member of a rewards programme are all significant.
- High scores for staff will aid recovery; while friendliness of and knowledge possessed by staff have steadily improved, those attributes will play a major role in getting the public back on board.
- Passengers will look for transparency and details of how the airlines will protect them from COVID-19, in particular in the sanitising of the aircraft and on the status of the pandemic at their destination.
Of the three major legacy carriers, American, Delta and United, Delta performed the best, being third in long-haul and fourth in short-haul. United did least well. The two Canadian carriers, WestJet and Air Canada performed poorly. Both were below the segment average in both categories with WestJet doing marginally better.