Shocking: Airline Customer Satisfaction Tanking

Posted May 20, 2008 by Carl Unger

Reportcard News revealed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) shouldn't surprise anyone (unless you're one of the lucky few living under a rock): Airline customer satisfaction is perilously low, nearing 2001-era levels, thanks to poor performance by the nation's legacy carriers.  In fact, the index shows that only Southwest's good performance saved this survey's numbers from being the worst ever.

Breaking it down a little bit, each airline received a score between 0 and 100, and that score reflects customer satisfaction during the last year.  Southwest received a 79, which is pretty good, and marks the carrier's 15th consecutive year of leading the pack.  American and Continental came in second, a whopping 17 points behind Southwest, with a rating of 62. Delta, United, and Northwest followed, with US Airways bringing up the rear with a score of 54.

All these numbers got me to reminiscing about high school, where I seem to recall a 62 was worth an F, or a D-minus if the teacher was generous.  Regardless, by those standards, six of the seven airlines included in this survey have report cards they don't want to show to their parents.  How on earth are they still in business?

Of course, there are other industries with lower standards than high school.  Baseball comes to mind, because even the absolute best hitters in the league still fail more than 60% of the time. In basketball, too, a good game is one in which you make just 50% of your shots.  Heck, even a president can stay in office despite approval ratings in the low 30s. Viewed in the light of professional sports and national politics, the big U.S. carriers actually look pretty good. Grading on a curve always helped me too. Especially in calculus.

So do you think this survey got it about right? What's your favorite U.S. airline? Would any of them get an A?

(Photo: LT Technologies, Inc.)

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Reader Comments

Where's JetBlue on this list? Really, I'm not so sure Southwest should be at the top...unless you like cattle call seating.

Posted on May 20, 2008 at 04:14 PM by Kerry

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