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Study: Airline passenger satisfaction up

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(KYTX) - Flying can be a hectic experience, but a new study shows airline passengers are a lot happier these days.

J.D. Power and Associates' annual "North America Airline Satisfaction Study" reveals passengers are the happiest they've been since 2006.

42-year-old Danny Vasquez says he flies at least once a month for business.

"American, United and Southwest are usually what I fly."  

He calls himself a happy customer overall.

"The one thing I can say that I like about American is the assigned seating. You know, I do like that. You get your seat, you know where you're going.

The airline study is based on the following criteria in order of importance:

costs and fees; in-flight services; boarding, deplaning and baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservations.

Satisfaction improved in every category.

Tyler airport manager Davis Dickson says that's good news.

"I think those kinds of things, sometimes they may just be simple things, but they mean a lot to the customer.

The study shows even a smiling staff can help boost an airline's scores

"Good, convenient parking, good, convenient boarding of the aircraft."

Dickson says keeping up with customer service has paid off- especially in the last month.

"We could see evidence where, you know, boardings were up. It seems like more people are beginning to use the airport again and it's just a consistent growth that we'd like to see there."

He says he hopes that trend continues into summer travel.

For the ninth year in a row, JetBlue Airways ranked first for satisfaction among all North American Airlines. Southwest was a close second.

Here are the rankings for traditional carriers.  It's based on a one thousand point scale:

Topping the list- Alaska Airlines. Delta Airlines came in second. Then, Air Canada, American Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways.

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