Air travel has never been this popular with consumers


While most travel-related news recently has centered on incidents related to Boeing jets, that’s not doing much to change people’s enthusiasm for getting away from it all.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual Travel Survey for 2023-2024 is out and, for airlines at least, customer satisfaction has never been this high. That might not be surprising, given the ongoing trends of revenge travel and overall wanderlust, but some of the specifics might raise eyebrows.

Alaska Airlines, for instance, was ranked as the top airline for the second year in a row in the study. That came despite the widely reported in-flight loss of a door in January 2024. That incident was blamed on Boeing, which made the plane, rather than Alaska, but it resulted in the grounding of much of the carrier’s fleet, causing inconveniences for travelers.

In the survey, however (which interviewed 16,352 customers between April 2023 and March 2024), Alaska saw its overall customer service score increase by 1% over the previous year to 82. American Airlines came in second, with a score of 79.

United was the only carrier to see its score lower, losing 3 points.

Among hotels, Hilton led the list, topping IHG and Hyatt. Wyndham was the lowest ranked chain. Hotels, in general, are on an upswing with consumers. After hitting a 15-year low in 2022, consumer sentiment began to rise last year and was up another 3% this year. As with airlines, the increase is said to be due to an increase in staffing levels and a return to normal operations.

National was the top-rated car rental chain, followed by Alamo (which led last year’s list) and Avis, which tied for second. Lyft and Uber were tied among customer satisfaction in ride-sharing.

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