JetBlue is flying high in the eyes of its customers. Out of the 10 airlines included in the 2015 Temkin Experience Ratings, which polled 10,000 U.S. respondents on 293 consumer brands, the airline comfortably landed in first place with an overall score of 75 percent, a 15 point percentage point climb from its 2014 rating. (For context, Temkin considers a score of 70 percent to be "good," and a score of 80 percent and above to be "excellent.")
On the other end of the line-up: Spirit Airlines, which came in last by a wide-margin, with a customer experience rating of 47 percent.
The two airlines' ratings underscore their very different approaches to flying. Recently, JetBlue has revamped its image with the introduction of a premium service equipped with private cabins, the longest beds in the United States domestic market and a swanky new menu. Its ads are sleek and/or pointedly humorous.
Spirit Airlines takes the exact opposite approach. "We're not even Wal-Mart," Spirit's CEO Ben Baldanza recently told NPR. "We're Dollar General. And we like being Dollar General, because we save people lots of money." As for Spirit's ads? Let's just say that much was made of the discount airline's recent acquisition of its 69th plane.
While JetBlue offers travelers complimentary amenities such as snacks and beverages, Spirit isn't looking to compete anything but price, Baldanza told the outlet. While it's a strategy that gets people to book tickets and fly with the airline (Spirit is growing), it's not an approach that makes them feel warm and fuzzy about the experience. Recently, Spirit came dead-last in a Consumer Reports survey, which Baldanza takes issue with. "That survey never asks people about the price of their ticket," he told NPR. "Why doesn't Consumer Reports put out a survey that says a Mercedes S-Class is better than a Ford Focus?"
For its part, Temkin asks consumers to evaluate brands based on three components: success (did you accomplish what you wanted to?), effort (how easy was it to interact with the company?), and emotion (how do you feel about your interactions with the company?).
Check out how other airlines stack up in the list below.
1) JetBlue Airlines 75%
2) Southwest Airlines 72%
3) Delta Airlines 69%
4) Alaska Airlines 69%
5) Virgin America 63%
6) American Airlines 57%
7) United Airlines 56%
8) US Airways 55%
9) AirTran Airways 52%
10) Spirit Airlines 47%