Ranked: The Best Airlines In America In 2022, According To J.D. Power Report

ranked the best airlines in america in 2022 according to j d power report
ranked the best airlines in america in 2022 according to j d power report

What is the best airline in America? It’s a question many people are asking now that travel has roared back to life. J.D. Power—a global leader in consumer insights, data and analytics—has just released its annual North America Airline Satisfaction Study, which ranks the best U.S. airlines based on passenger satisfaction in eight metrics, including aircraft, baggage, boarding, check-in; cost and fees, flight crew, in-flight services and reservation.

J.D. Power has been tracking the state of the airline industry since 1993, and this year—for the first time—the company broke up the rankings into three areas: with the best airlines in America for first/business class, the best airlines to fly in premium economy and the best airlines in economy/basic economy, allowing for three winners. “We did it to align with the way that consumers purchase tickets. Each seat class comes with certain expectations about service and price and J.D. Power wanted to gather insights on what’s important to passengers in each seat class,” says Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power.

This year, JetBlue Airways was the big winner, ranking on top as the best airline in two areas: first/business and premium economy. Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines was named the best airline for economy/basic economy.

Drilling down on the numbers, JetBlue won the first/business segment with a score of 878. Alaska Airlines came in second with a score of 876, while Delta Air Lines was third with a score of 862. In the premium economy segment, JetBlue Airways also ranked first, earning a customer satisfaction score of 851, which put it on top. In second place was Delta Air Lines (837), then Alaska Airlines (825) ranking third.

For economy/basic economy, Southwest Airlines came out on top with a score of 849. JetBlue Airways (828) ranked second and Delta Air Lines (813) ranked third.

Both Southwest and JetBlue have won multiple J.D. Power awards in the past. “We’ve been fielding this study since 1993. Southwest’s major strengths are ‘people skills’ and delivering value for the ticket price paid. JetBlue’s traditional strength is delivering in-flight entertainment,” says Taylor.

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Compare this year’s results to last year’s rankings, when Delta Air Lines took the top spot—the first time the airline had won with J.D. Power since 1995. What propelled Delta into the top spot last year? “Delta’s win last year was largely a product of their ‘people’ skills and Delta’s ability to adapt to the changing Covid environment,” says Taylor. “Most airlines in the study had ups and downs in the 2022 study year. Leisure travel demand surged, assets were re-deployed and labor issues affected almost all airlines. In this year’s study, Delta is in the top three ranked airlines in each seat class.”

One big surprise on this year’s list was Allegiant Air, which got a fourth place ranking in the economy segment, beating out legacy carriers like United Airlines (in 7th place) and American Airlines (9th place). “Allegiant’s typical boarding process seems to be appreciated by the passengers flying Allegiant,” says Taylor.

But Taylor points out that it’s been a time of change. “With such a turbulent past two years, it wasn’t unexpected to see some churn in the rankings,” he says, noting that “it’s been a very unsettled industry during the Covid period with many changes in service levels on the aircraft and with the fleet that the airlines have put into service.

J.D. Power’s study revealed some other key findings about the state of air travel in 2022. The big takeaway: Consumer satisfaction has declined across most measures. Passengers are most frustrated about increases in the cost of tickets, given that higher fuel prices and rising demand are driving a 20% increase in average airfares. Upper class passengers in premium economy and first/business are also frustrated by food and beverage offerings—most of all they want their free drinks back. On the other hand, the passengers in the back of the plane—economy/basic economy—were happy. Their food and beverage satisfaction scores went up by 7 points.

So where are things headed? Is the state of air travel going to be getting better or worse? “Airlines should be able to solve their fleet, crew and schedule problems by later this summer,” predicts Taylor. “But by that time the flying public will likely be focused on the price of a ticket. Fuel costs are expected to be a major price factor if demand continues on its current trend.”

To see the full list from J.D. Power, you can view the report here. Or read on for the lists of the best airlines in America.

The Best Airlines in America: First/Business Class

  1. JetBlue Airways
  2. Alaska Airlines
  3. Delta Air Lines
  4. Air Canada
  5. United Airlines
  6. American Airlines

The Best Airlines in America: Premium Economy

  1. JetBlue Airways
  2. Delta Air Lines
  3. Alaska Airlines
  4. American Airlines
  5. United Airlines
  6. Air Canada

The Best Airlines in America: Economy/Basic Economy

  1. Southwest Airlines
  2. JetBlue Airways
  3. Delta Air Lines
  4. Allegiant Air
  5. Alaska Airlines
  6. Air Canada
  7. Alaska Airlines
  8. Spirit Airlines
  9. American Airlines
  10. Frontier Airlines
  11. WestJet

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