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The Best and Worst Airlines for 2023, Ranked


If you’ve ever sat in an even smaller than normal coach seat, had the same flight canceled/rescheduled multiple times, or fought with a rude customer service agent—then you know that the airline you fly with can make a huge difference in the pleasantness of your trip.

Improve your chances of having a good flight by choosing one of the airlines ranked as the best for customer satisfaction—and think twice before booking a ticket on one of the airlines that came in last.

J.D. Power just released its annual North America Airline Satisfaction Study which measures customer satisfaction with carriers across eight categories:

  • Aircraft
  • Baggage
  • Boarding
  • Check-in
  • Cost and fees
  • Flight crew
  • In-flight services
  • Reservations

J.D. Power surveyed 7,774 customers who had flown on a major North American airline within the past month from March 2022 through March 2023 to determine the airline rankings. 

Customers’ feelings towards airlines varied depending on what part of the plane they were flying in—for example, United Airlines ranked as the third best carrier for first/business class customers but fell to eighth place for economy passengers.

The Best and Worst North America Airlines for Economy

Graphs showing the results of the North America Airline Satisfaction Study for economy classes
JD Power

The Best and Worst North America Airlines for First/Business Class

According to J.D. Power, as airline profits have increased over the last few years, consumers have become increasingly unhappy with airlines. “If yield management were the only metric airlines needed to be successful in the long term, this would be a banner year for the industry because they are operating at peak economic efficiency,” said Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power. “From the customer perspective, however, that means planes are crowded, tickets are expensive and flight availability is constrained.”

Overall passenger satisfaction fell 7 points on the annual survey, following a huge 22-point decrease from 2021 to 2022. An increase in cost and fees was cited as the biggest factor driving flyers’ unhappiness. 

On the bright side, the much-maligned airplane food seems to be getting better— customer satisfaction rankings for the food and beverage category increased 12 points overall this year.

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