Canada’s largest and only major traditional airline was ranked dead last in a new study of passenger satisfaction with North American airlines.
According to consumer insights company J.D. Power, Air Canada falls behind the four other traditional carriers, specifically Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and even United Airlines.
Air Canada had a total score of 709 out of 1,000, just a few points lower than United Airlines’ score of 716 and the average of 740 across all five major airlines.
Within the separate low-cost carrier ranking, WestJet ranked second last – beating Frontier Airlines but short of Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways.
Measures for the performance satisfaction analysis include cost and fees, in-flight services, aircraft, boarding and deplaning, baggage care, flight crew, check-in, and reservation.
However, Air Canada is still the only Four Star network carrier in North America on the annual Skytrax ranking, which is considered the global benchmark for the aviation industry. As for the J.D. Power evaluation, the differences in scores are marginal.
“The JD Power study notes all carriers showed gains in customer satisfaction and our score was up over 2016, so customers are recognizing our ongoing improvements, which is also reflected in our internal tracking,” Angela Mah, a spokesperson for Air Canada, told Daily Hive.
“Above all, the results show this is a very competitive business as the difference between the five traditional carriers examined in the study is only 5.6 percentage points, so everyone is very close and getting closer, given the gap was wider a year earlier.”
Overall satisfaction with airlines increasing
Despite recent highly publicized incidents, J.D. Power says overall satisfaction is on the upward trend due to lower costs, improved on-time performance, fewer lost bags, and improved satisfaction with flight crews. As well, instances of denial of boarding or bumping to another flight have reached historic lows in frequency.
But it notes that passenger problems with full overhead bin storage is more common.
“It’s impossible to think about airline customer satisfaction without replaying the recent images of a passenger being dragged from a seat, but our data shows that, as a whole, the airline industry has been making marked improvements in customer satisfaction across a variety of metrics, from ticket cost to flight crew,” said Michael Taylor, travel practice lead at J.D. Power, in a statement.
“As recent events remind us, however, airlines have significant room for improvement. Airlines still rank among the bottom tier of most service industries tracked by J.D. Power, far lower than North American rental car companies or hotels.”
North American Traditional Carrier Ranking
- Alaska Airlines: 765
- Delta Air Lines: 758
- American Airlines: 736
- United Airlines: 716
- Air Canada: 709
North American Low-Cost Carrier Ranking
- Southwest Airlines: 807
- JetBlue Airways: 803
- WestJet: 736
- Frontier Airlines: 663