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JetBlue, Alaska Lead JD Power Rankings Again

For the fourth straight year, JetBlue led the low-cost carrier group in JD Power’s annual customer service survey, while Alaska took top honors among traditional network carriers. For JetBlue, it’s the fifth win overall in just nine years of operation. The survey results are based on responses from over 12,900 travelers who flew in North America between April 2008 and May 2009.

JetBlue may have held onto its crown, but some of its competitors are quickly catching up. Southwest performed well and, according to JD Power, which doesn’t release actual voting totals, has closed the gap. Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet also scored good marks in its first year in the survey. Continental and Delta followed Alaska in the traditional network category.

But while JetBlue will no doubt rush to add this latest award to its posters, ads, and website, the survey isn’t all good news. JD Power concluded that overall customer satisfaction with the industry has declined for three straight years, and cites fees, disappearing in-flight services, and flight crew as reasons. In fact, overall satisfaction is at a four-year low despite successful efforts on the airlines’ part to improve on-time performance (of course, this goal is much easier to achieve when the airlines have cut capacity by 10 to 15 percent).

Readers, I’m curious to know how your opinion lines up (or doesn’t) with these results. Do you think JetBlue is tops among low-cost carriers? How about Alaska? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

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