Delta ranks second in American Customer Satisfaction Index

People are seen at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport domestic terminal in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.  (Arvin Temkar /



People are seen at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport domestic terminal in Atlanta on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. (Arvin Temkar /

Delta Air Lines tied for second place among airlines in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index travel report released Tuesday.

JetBlue Airways stepped into the top spot, bumping Delta and Southwest, which tied for the lead in 2021.

This year, Atlanta-based Delta shares the No. 2 spot with Southwest and competing major carriers American and United Airlines.

Below the No. 2 position is Alaska Airlines, followed by Allegiant and ultra low-cost carrier Frontier. Another ultra low-cost carrier, Spirit, was last. JetBlue earlier this month made an offer to acquire Spirit, disrupting Frontier’s plans to merge with Spirit.

The airline industry has struggled to ramp up operations over the last year as travel recovers, frustrating travelers with flight cancellations, long phone waits for customer service and staff shortages in some areas.

Earlier in the pandemic, ACSI customer satisfaction for airlines reached record highs with less-crowded flights because few people were traveling.

Now that leisure travelers have returned to the skies en masse, most airlines rated lower for customer satisfaction than they did a year earlier. Scores declined for seat comfort, quality of in-flight beverage and food and in-flight entertainment.

“Many folks ventured out to travel for the first time since the pandemic hit only to be met with lackluster service and dashed hopes,” said Forrest Morgeson in a written statement. He is an assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University and ACSI Director of Research Emeritus. “Anyone who anticipated their travel experience would feel like the ‘normal’ pre-pandemic days are likely coming away sorely disappointed,” he said.

Airlines and other travel companies including rental car agencies, hotels and online travel agencies rank lower than industries like food manufacturing and full-service restaurants. But they rank higher than Internet service providers and subscription television service.

Among hotels, Atlanta-based IHG Hotels & Resorts ranked fourth among major hotel chains. Marriott was in the No. 1 spot, followed by Hilton and Best Western. Trailing behind IHG were Choice, Hyatt and Wyndham.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is based on interviews with 6,285 people contacted via email between April 4, 2021 and March 25, 2022. ACSI is a national economic indicator started at the University of Michigan.

American Customer Satisfaction Index: Airlines

JetBlue, 79

American, 77

Delta, 77

Southwest, 77

United, 77

Alaska, 75

Allegiant, 70

Frontier, 66

Spirit, 63

Overall: 75

Source: ACSI