If you’re comparison shopping flights for you summer vacation, take note: Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue were named as the airlines with the best customer service in the industry.
These rankings are based on the 2016 Temkin Experience Ratings, an annual customer experience ranking of companies using the opinions of 10,000 consumers in the U.S. This is the seventh year of the survey, which is conducted by Temkin Group, a research and consulting firm.
The survey asks consumers about their experiences with different companies and ranks them based on three main elements — how successful consumers are at doing what they set out to do with the brand, how easy/difficult it is to work with the brand, and how consumers feel about their experience with each brand.
Southwest has earned the top spot every year since the report was first issued in 2011, except in 2015 when JetBlue overtook the leading position. Southwest is back on top again in the airlines category this year, coming in at 52nd place overall out of the almost 300 companies ranked in 20 different industries.
While Southwest earned a 67% approval rating that caused it to lead the nine airlines that were ranked, Spirit Airlines made the bottom of the list, with only a 40% approval rating.
Paul Berry, a Spirit Airlines spokesman, said the carrier felt the survey didn’t have enough criteria to rank the airlines fairly because it treated every airline the same when they each have different value propositions.
“They certainly didn’t ask the question on their survey about what customers say over and over is most important in choosing an airline, which is price,” Berry said. “If that’s the case, we win every time. But we get it and we are certainly doing some things currently that will hopefully improve our rankings in the future.”
Here is how each airline included in the survey ranked.
1. Southwest Airlines: 67%
2. Alaska Airlines: 62%
2. JetBlue Airlines: 62%
4. Delta Airlines: 59%
5. Virgin America: 55%
6. American Airlines: 52%
7. United Airlines: 51%
8. US Airways: 48%
9. Spirit Airlines: 40%
Whichever airline you prefer to fly with, flights can get expensive. You can cut back on some of the extra fees with airline credit cards and even get rewards points that help you pay for your next flight (you can check out our independent ranking of the best airline credit cards on the market here). But keep in mind that, while these credit cards offer some perks you may enjoy, getting into credit card debt to save on checking a suitcase simply isn’t worth it.
(You can see how paying your credit cards off in full each month helps your credit score by reviewing your free credit report summary for free each month on Credit.com.)
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