This Is America's Worst Airline

JT Occhialini / Wikimedia Commons

The air travel industry had a smooth and generally successful period from the end of the Great Recession in 2010 to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It was nearly ruined financially for the year and a half that ended in mid-2021. The skies were simply shut down because people could not fly together.

The recovery of air travel was halting at first. Even as demand rose, pilots and airline staff were laid off. Planes had been stored and not serviced. Early rushes of holiday traffic caused catastrophes, and delays became a normal part of traveling. (These U.S. airports have the worst customer satisfaction.)

Finally, airline travel quality has begun to recover. According to the new American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) 2022/2023 Travel Study, quality scores for many airlines have risen since the last survey. The industry average (on a scale of 1 to 100) was 76, versus 75 last year.

One carrier posted extraordinary results. Alaska Airlines scored the highest at 81, up 8% from 2022.

The dismal results of the worst carrier were for Spirit Airlines. The discount carrier posted a score of 64, up 2% from 2022. JetBlue is supposed to buy Spirit. However, the move is likely to be blocked by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Among the metrics used to evaluate carriers was ease of use of the online app, boarding experience, call center effectiveness and on-time arrivals. The ACSI Travel Study 2022-2023 is based on interviews with 10,588 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between April 2022 and March 2023.

Airline 2022 2023
Alaska 75 81
American 77 78
Southwest 77 78
United 77 77
Delta 77 76
JetBlue 79 76
Allegiant 70 75
Frontier 66 67
Spirit 63 64

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