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Airline Customer Satisfaction Is Actually Improving

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Photograph by Thomas Trutschel—Getty/PhotothekThomas Trutschel Photothek via Getty Images

As stressful as flying can be, customer satisfaction with airlines actually improved from April 2016 to March 2017, according to a J.D. Power survey released Wednesday.

Overall satisfaction went up 30 points, on a 1,000 point scale, in 2017 from 2016, according to the report. The study added that customer satisfaction has been rising for the past five years.

The survey, which collected responses from April 2016 to March 2017, notably measures satisfaction before headline-grabbing airline incidents such as when United Airlines passenger David Dao was dragged off a flight to make room for airline employees.

The study attributes an increase in satisfaction to lower costs and fewer problems. For example, airfare went down by 8.5% last year, there were more on-time flights, fewer lost bangs and lower bump rates, according to the survey.

Alaska Airlines ranked highest among traditional airlines and Southwest ranked highest for budget carriers.

However, J.D. Power also acknowledged the issues plaguing airlines.

“It’s impossible to think about airlines customer satisfaction without replaying the recent images of a passenger being dragged from a seat, but out data shows that, as a whole, the airline industry has been making marked improvements in customer satisfaction across a variety of metrics,” said J.D. Power Travel Practice Lead Michael Taylor. “As recent events remind us, however, airlines have significant room for improvement.”