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Which are J.D. Power's Top Airlines of 2016?

On Wednesday, global marketing services firm J.D. Power and Associates released its annual North American Airline Satisfaction Study, and its top-ranked traditional and low-cost airliners are Alaska Airlines Group, Inc. ALK and JetBlue Airways Corp. JBLU for the 9th and 11th consecutive years, respectively.

All in all, air travelers’ happiness with customer service on Canadian and United States-based airliners are continuing to rise, and hit a 10-year high, according to the survey. The industry’s satisfaction score rose to an average of 726 on 1,000-point scale, surpassing the 9-point jump from the record-high seen last year.

The research was pulled from an online survey of more than 10,000 passengers who flew on major North American airlines between March 2015 and March 2016. It compiles satisfaction scores taken from company performances in seven categories: cost and fees; in-flight services; boarding, deplaning and baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservations.

As the best traditional carrier, Alaska Airlines raised its overall score by 32 points to 751 after making gains in all seven measured factors. JetBlue came in on top among the low-cost airliners with a score of 790 falling 11 points from a year ago and declining in six of the seven measured factors; aircraft was the only factor to slightly improve.

And for the first time in the study’s 12-year history, satisfaction among business travelers surpassed that of leisure travelers by eight points, or 733 in comparison with 725, respectively.

“While the perception of the airline experience still has a lot of room for improvement, there is notable progress in terms of satisfaction among the highest-ranked airlines in the study due to their keen focus on meeting or exceeding passenger needs,” Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power, says in a statement. “The airlines are clearly listening to their passengers and are taking action.”

“Airlines are making positive strides by adding value to its products and services with newer and cleaner planes, better in-flight services, improving on-time arrivals and bumping fewer passengers from their flights,” Garlick adds.

Currently, both JetBlue and Alaska Airlines have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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JETBLUE AIRWAYS (JBLU): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ALASKA AIR GRP (ALK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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