Quality survey: NWA lags, JetBlue rules

Jun. 19--Northwest Airlines ranked dead last among major airlines ranked in the J.D. Power And Associates airline customer satisfaction survey released today.

JetBlue Airways ranked No. 1 overall of 12 airlines for a third straight year, despite severe flight delays and cancellations caused by weather and computer glitches in the past year.

Among eight network carriers, Continental Airlines topped the list for the second year in a row.

Eagan-based Northwest couldn't be reached for comment this morning.

The J.D. Power survey was based on responses from more than 9,600 passengers who flew on a major U.S. airline between April 2006 and April 2007. It included a representative sample of travelers for each airline ranked.

The survey ranked the airlines that generate at least $1 billion a year in revenue on a 1,000-point scale based on performance in seven measures (in order of importance): cost and fees; flight crew; in-flight services; aircraft; boarding/deplaning/baggage; check-in and reservation.

JetBlue's score was 810. Continental's was 704. Northwest's was 646.

The survey found some differences in what passengers care most about by age.

Overall, passengers indicated that they care most about in-flight complimentary meals and movies, but the survey found that younger travelers want more high-tech amenities.

More than half of the surveyed passengers born between 1965 and 1976 said they want high-tech services, such as in-seat satellite or live TV. So-called Generation Y passengers (those born between 1977 and 1994) were seven times more likely to want in-flight video games than pre-boomers (those born in 1945 or before).

Sheryl Jean can be reached at sjean@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5576.

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