Southwest No. 2, Delta No. 5 in latest airline ranking

JetBlue Airways ranks No. 1 in a new airline ranking from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, while Spirit Airlines ranks last.

In second place in the ranking released Tuesday is Southwest Airlines. Delta Air Lines is in the middle, improving its score by 7 percent from last year. United, Frontier and Spirit are in the bottom three positions.

Delta is the largest airline in Atlanta, controlling with its partners about 80 percent of the market at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Southwest is the No. 2 carrier in Atlanta. JetBlue launched service to Atlanta in March, and Spirit and Frontier also both fly to Atlanta.

Overall, passenger satisfaction is up compared with a year ago, according to the ACSI report. But airlines are still in the bottom third of industries tracked by the index.

"Customer satisfaction has never appeared to be a goal for airlines," said Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman, in a written statement. He added that the "financial return on passenger satisfaction is not much of an incentive" compared with other industries.

"The exception is in the few airports where airlines actually compete with one another -- or when they treat passengers spectacularly badly in public," according to Fornell.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is based on customer interviews conducted over 12 months ending in March 2017 -- before Delta's mass cancellations and United's dragging incident this month.

American Customer Satisfaction Index 2017 ranking of airlines

  1. JetBlue
  2. Southwest
  3. Alaska
  4. American
  5. Delta
  6. Allegiant
  7. United
  8. Frontier
  9. Spirit


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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.