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For the first time in 18 years, Southwest Airlines taking off their crown and passing it along to the newly touted "Best in Customer Satisfaction" airline. In an industry fraught with complaints about baggage policies, security measures, flight cancellations, delays, lack of snacks and poor service, it's quite a feat to boast any customer satisfaction at all! Every passenger seems to have a laundry list of gripes these days.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a national economic indicator that rates everything from airlines to hotels, restaurants and shops, 70,000 Americans were interviewed for this data. Though airlines rank among the lowest industries in general (even behind cable subscription services and the newspaper industry), so far this year overall satisfaction is up 3.1%. This is the highest airlines have ranked in over ten years, so hopefully the trend continues upward.
To earn its top rank, Jet Blue racked up a score of 81% out of 100, over Southwest's 77%. From flight attendant friendliness to in-flight entertainment, leg room inches and extra baggage fees, Jet Blue shined. It maintains as one of the few airlines that will still let you check a bag for free, and the personal seat back screens that come standard on their flights are unanimous favorites among both young and old passengers. A fresh, modern image rounds out Jet Blue as the carrier to beat in future years.
Will Southwest rebound to reclaim its title in 2013? Some say the merger with AirTran skewed its numbers and it will be back with "flying" colors next year, making even more passengers smile than ever before. When you book your next trip with JetBlue, pair it with a hotel and car rental in Miami, Los Angeles or wherever you are off to, and watch the savings pile up!