Grumbling while traveling is practically an Olympic sport, so when the American Customer Satisfaction Index Travel Report for 2018-2019 came out on Tuesday, the results should not have been a surprise. And yet: It turns out that most domestic travelers are satisfied with their experiences. Um, what?
The survey reveals the surprising news that airlines had an average satisfaction score of 74 (on a scale of 0 to 100) up 1.4% from last year. While a 74 isn’t a particularly good grade in math class, when it comes to airlines, a customer satisfaction score of 74 is practically merit-badge worthy.
Alaska Airlines topped the list this year with a score of 80, ousting Southwest from the top spot after it fell a percentage point to 79, tying with JetBlue. Delta moved up one point for a score of 75 (thank you, Biscoff!), while American Airlines swooped in with a 73 and United squeaking in with a 70.
So what exactly were people satisfied with during air travel? Apparently people are particularly satisfied with the airlines’ mobile apps and check-in process, which both earned a score of 82, and both noticeably have nothing to do with the actual flying part of air travel. Other aspects of the non-flying experience also scored well: The boarding experience netted a 79 and cabin cleanliness scored a 78. The one aspect of air travel that actually had to do with flying, seat comfort, earned a lowly score of 69, showing that while people are satisfied with flying, they are not actually all that into flying.
As for hotels, customers were most satisfied with their experiences at Hilton and Marriott, which tied for a top score of 80, followed by Hyatt, InterContinental, and Best Western.