Delta Air Lines led the way as North American carriers achieved record-high customer satisfaction amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year and into 2021, based on the results of the latest J.D. Power North America Airline Satisfaction Study.
Ranking number one for the first time since 1995, Delta produced an overall score of 860 out of 1,000, securing the top spot in four of the eight categories the study considered, including flight crew, aircraft, in-flight service and baggage claim. The airline notably blocked middle seats for an entire year and launched the industry’s first Global Cleanliness division during the coronavirus crisis.
Delta also performed well in other categories such as reservation, check-in, boarding and on-time performance, helping it edge out last year’s top-ranked carrier Southwest Airlines (856) and third place Alaska Airlines (850).
“We are honored and humbled to be recognized by travelers as J.D. Power’s No. 1 airline for 2021,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement accompanying Wednesday’s announcement. “It’s particularly meaningful that this recognition came during the most challenging year in our history when the warm hospitality provided by our people every day made the difference for our customers. As we move into the recovery, our people-first actions will continue to drive our decisions and build on the trust earned during the pandemic.”
Michael Taylor, J.D. Power Practice Lead, Travel, Global Business Intelligence pointed out that “Delta’s ‘people’ scores are a key factor in its success” over the past year.
“Delta’s in-flight crew performed exceptionally well with its passengers in 2020 and 2021, getting significantly high scores in friendliness, courtesy and attentiveness to passenger needs,” he said in a statement. “In a particularly difficult year, Delta’s people adapted to the challenges of new procedures and passenger concerns and did so with high marks from its customers. Our J.D. Power data shows that Delta has been on a steady upward trend for several years, and its ‘people’ scores in the air and on the ground are setting the bar higher for the airline industry.”
Thank you to our Delta people and loyal customers for making us #1 in Customer Satisfaction among Airlines by @JDPower. 75,000 employees work hard every day to put your needs first, and we’re very proud you’re seeing the power of our people. pic.twitter.com/tDRTXZGOGH
— Delta (@Delta) May 12, 2021
Customer satisfaction with North American airlines climbed 27 points to 819 on the 1,000-point scale year over year in 2021, boosted by a 47-point increase in satisfaction with cost and fees and a 26-point rise in contentment with flight crew performance.
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