Air Canada at the back of the pack for customer satisfaction

(Montreal) Air Canada ranks behind most other major North American airlines in customer satisfaction, with airfares a particularly sore point, according to a new survey.

The nation’s largest carrier ranks last in business class and premium economy, according to the survey by consumer analytics firm JD Power.

In economy class, Air Canada placed ninth out of 11 companies, beating low-cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

WestJet sits a little closer to the middle of the pack, taking fifth out of seven for premium economy and seventh out of 11 for economy.

“With Air Canada, people weren’t as happy with the value for money,” says Michael Taylor, who heads JD Power’s travel division. It is one of six factors rated by passengers, alongside other aspects such as digital tools, airline staff and on-board experience.

“Basically, they expected more for the price of their tickets,” says Mr. Taylor.

Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines received the highest score, a result Taylor attributed to their investment in staff training and recruitment.

“Delta flight attendants have smartphones that allow you to see details of the guest in each individual seat and their history with the airline. Staff can therefore ask them how their trip went compared to the previous one or if their specific needs were met,” says Mr. Taylor in an interview.

“You can’t be nice to all 185 passengers on a plane. But you can really be with five or ten,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Southwest takes attitude into account when hiring and encourages cabin crew to let their personality shine through, Mr. Taylor says.

Air Canada denied receiving such a poor rating, saying it had received good marks for its service in various rankings.

“This is one of several customer-based rankings and it should be noted that in other rankings, many of which use much larger samples, Air Canada has performed extremely well,” responded the spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick in an email.

He pointed to recent awards for service, staff and in-flight entertainment from airline review website Skytrax, the Trazee Travel website, its sister publication Global Traveler Magazine and the Airline Passenger Experience Association.

JD Power’s online survey surveyed 9,582 customers between March 2023 and March 2024.


Leave a Comment