Passenger satisfaction with airlines climbs, despite more fees

Passenger satisfaction with airlines climbs, despite more fees
Passenger satisfaction with airlines climbs, despite more fees

Airlines can charge us for everything from peanuts to pillows and apparently, we still love them regardless. At least that's the finding of a new survey, which found that overall satisfaction with airlines improved last year, even as carriers hit passengers with more ancillary fees. Apparently the more they zing us, the more we like it.

The findings -- which gave most airlines the highest satisfaction ratings since 2007 -- surprised even seasoned researchers at J.D. Power and Associates, a Westlake Village, Calif.-based firm that has conducted an airline satisfaction survey for years.

"With satisfaction going up at a time when there seems to be a large amount of discontent, we did raise an eyebrow and went to double check our math," said Stuart Greif, vice president of the firm's global travel practice.

The survey marked the first time since carriers began charging fees (in 2006) for services that used to be free -- such as a particular seat assignment, changing a ticket, meals, and bringing pets aboard -- that more passengers reported being satisfied with the level of service they received when flying.