Post Office Beats Airlines in Satisfaction Study

How satisfied are travelers with the service provided by U.S. airlines?

Although they're 3 percent more satisfied in 2013 than they were last year, airlines as a group still rank near the bottom of all industries, outscoring only subscription TV and Internet service providers.

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With a 69 out of 100 satisfaction rating, the airlines were trounced by cellphone companies, the U.S. Post Office, and fast-food restaurants, among others.

That's according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, an independent benchmarking service developed at the University of Michigan.

The findings were based on surveys completed by 70,000 consumers, and depict satisfaction levels with more than 230 companies in 43 industries.

For individual airlines, the satisfaction levels were as follows:

  • 1. JetBlue (83 points on a scale of 100)
  • 2. Southwest (81)
  • 3. Delta (68)
  • 4. American (65)
  • 5. US Airways (64)
  • 6. United (62)

What can the airlines do to better please their customers? These are the high and low points of travelers' satisfaction:

  • Ease of check-in (82 points on a scale of 100)
  • Ease of booking (82)
  • Timeliness of arrival (81)
  • Flight crew (81)
  • Website (80)
  • Baggage handling (80)
  • Boarding (78)
  • Schedules (74)
  • Loyalty program (73)
  • In-flight services, including food and entertainment (68)
  • Seat comfort (63)

More comfortable seats would be a good place to start.

Reader Reality Check

Are the airlines being unfairly criticized, or do they deserve their bottom-of-the-pack ratings?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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