JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM.

Delta No. 2 in category for customer satisfaction in J.D. Power study

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines ranks second in its category on airline customer satisfaction, according to an annual J.D. Power study.

Overall, customer satisfaction hit a record high due to newer planes and better satisfaction with fares, booking and overhead storage compartments, according to the study.

But passengers are still frustrated with in-flight wi-fi connectivity, the study reported.

“Today’s passengers expect trouble-free connectivity for personal devices and airlines are challenged to keep pace with the technology that can achieve that goal,” said Michael Taylor of J.D. Power in a written statement. “This is important because passengers are far more likely to have a positive experience with an airline if they are entertained during their flight.”

Delta CEO Ed Bastian acknowledged the issues with wi-fi during remarks at an investor conference Wednesday.

“We haven’t had historically the bandwidth and the quality and the reliability,” Bastian said. Among airlines, “I don’t think anyone” is functioning at the desired level of quality, he said.

Bastian said Delta is investing heavily in satellite technology to solve the problem. “I think it will be a differentiator once we get the service and reliability that we need,” he said, noting that it’s particularly important for business travelers.

In the traditional carrier category, Delta again came in second behind Alaska Airlines, which has taken the top spot for 11 years in a row. Delta has long coveted the top spot. One of the top items in its annual corporate goals is to win the J.D. Power award for customer service.

In the low-cost carrier category, Southwest Airlines ranked No. 1 for the second year in a row. Dallas-based Southwest is the second-largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson.

JetBlue Airways, which launched flights to Atlanta last year, came in second in the low-cost carrier category.

But overall, low-cost carriers Southwest and JetBlue scored higher than both Delta and Alaska.

The lowest-ranked airlines were United in the traditional carrier category and Frontier in the low-cost carrier category.

The study examines passenger satisfaction in seven factors: cost and fees, in-flight services, aircraft, boarding/deplaning/baggage, flight crew, check-in, and reservation.

The J.D. Power study is based on responses from 11,508 passengers who flew on a major North American airline between March 2017 and March 2018.

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