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These are Americans' least favorite airlines in the U.S.

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Airline passenger satisfaction has waned over the past year as higher fares, crowded planes and limited flight availability have made the flying experience less than enjoyable, a new study by data analytics firm J.D. Power shows.

While high demand for air travel, coupled with limited supply, is driving carriers' revenue up, customer satisfaction is down and could mar some major airlines' reputations, the report suggests.

"While these drawbacks have not yet put a dent in leisure travel demand, if this trend continues, travelers will reach a breaking point and some airline brands may be damaged," Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at data analytics firm J.D. Power, said in a statement. 

Overall passenger satisfaction dropped seven points from one year ago, to 791 out of 1,000, according to J.D. Power's 2023 North America Airline Satisfaction Study. Folks in the front of planes, in first and business class sections, however, reported higher satisfaction than economy travelers, with first-class passenger satisfaction rising nine points to 846 compared to last year. 

J.D. Power surveyed 7,774 passengers who flew commercially between March 2022 and March 2023. Their satisfaction was measured based on how highly they rated the following criteria: Making reservations, the check-in and boarding experiences, baggage handling, the quality of the aircraft and staff, in-flight services and costs and fees. 

American Airlines fared poorly, as it was among the lowest-rated airlines across every fare class.

Despite its holiday scheduling meltdown, Southwest ranked the highest in customer satisfaction in the economy/basic economy segment for a second year in a row. 

Around Christmastime, the carrier canceled more than 16,700 flights, sparking outrage among customers as well as investigations from lawmakers and transportation regulators. In some cases, travelers missed their own weddings, were separated from essential medications and were unable to retrieve their belongings, like car seats and winter coats.

Here is the complete list of the best and worst airlines in the U.S. along with their satisfaction rating on a 1,000-point scale.

First/Business class

Best airlines

  1. JetBlue Airways (893)
  2. Delta Air Lines (865)
  3. United Airlines (848)

Worst airlines 

  1. American Airlines (826)
  2. Alaska Airlines (833)

Premium Economy

Best airlines

  1. Delta Air Lines (848)
  2. JetBlue Airways (840)
  3. Alaska (823)

Worst airlines

  1. United Airlines (784)
  2. American Airlines (821)

Economy/Basic Economy

Best airlines

  1. Southwest Airlines (827)
  2. Delta Air Lines (801)
  3. JetBlue Airways (800)

Worst airlines

  1. Frontier Airlines (705)
  2. Spirit Airlines (727)
  3. American Airlines (764)
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