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With shrinking seat sizes and leg room, plus extra fees for pretty much everything beyond putting your rump in a seat, it might be hard to believe, but overall satisfaction with the airline industry is actually up.
That’s according to the most recent J.D. Power and Associates’ North American Airline Satisfaction Study among 10,000 passengers. Each year, they rank airlines on a 1,000-point scale, looking at everything from costs and fees, in-flight services and boarding/deplaning/baggage, to flight crews, check-ins and reservations.
The increased satisfaction among these carriers is a direct result of some of the investments made by the airlines over the last several years, according to the study, because it has resulted in better on-time arrivals, reduced frequency of lost luggage, plus enhancements to in-flight services such as food, Wi-Fi and entertainment. Of course, growing customer tolerance for extra fees hasn’t hurt, either.
Below are some of the best-regarded North American carriers, broken into two categories: traditional and discount.
Best Traditional Carriers
- Alaska Airlines: 751
Not only does Alaska Airlines stand out when it comes to customer satisfaction (the Alaska Air Group’s carrier has been ranked No. 1 among traditional carriers for nearly a decade), they also have some great rewards credit cards for frequent flyers, which can make your flying experience even better.
- Delta Air Lines: 725
- American Airlines/US Airways: 693
- Air Canada: 681
- United Airlines: 675
Recommended Travel Rewards Card
Best Discount Carriers
- JetBlue Airways: 790
JetBlue has been a darling among frugal travelers since it took off back in 2000. JetBlue’s trio of branded credit cards can make frequent fliers’ travel all that more special. The Jetblue Plus Card, for instance, offers cardholders 30,000 bonus points after they spend $1,000 in the first three months. There are also no blackout dates or seat restrictions.
- Southwest Airlines: 789
- WestJet: 723
- Frontier Airlines: 662
JetBlue Plus Card
- Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days
- Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights. Points required for an Award Flight will vary based on the published base fare at the time of booking
- Points awarded in your TrueBlue account don't expire.
- Earn and share points together with Family Pooling
- Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
- 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember's first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights
- Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
- Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card
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Remember, if you’re a frequent flier, a travel rewards card or one of the best airline miles credit cards can help you get the most out of all those hours in the air. But before you begin researching which card might be best for your needs, it’s a good idea to know where your credit stands first. You can get your two free credit scores along with a snapshot of your credit report details at Credit.com. Checking your scores will not harm them in any way.