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United At Bottom Of Airlines In Customer Ratings

(File Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

(File Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — In an industry that consistently gets low marks among consumers, Chicago-based United Airlines ranks last among major carriers, according to data released on Tuesday.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index rates United at 62. Jet Blue, which makes its debut in the ASCI index, ranked No. 1 with a score of 81.

Popular discount carrier Southwest, which has a large presence at Chicago’s Midway International Airport, ranked third with a score of 77.

United recently merged with Continental, which had a 2011 score of 64, ranking it near the bottom that year. United’s score improved one point from 2011 and is up from its all-time low of 56 in 2007. That score was among the lowest ever for an airline on the ACSI since 1995.

“The ranking reflects the changes our customers experienced as we aligned United’s services and procedures with Continental’s,” said United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson. “As we continue the cabin and airport upgrades that we began in 2011 and give employees more tools to serve customers, travelers’ experiences with United will be noticeably smoother.”

American, which, along with United, has a huge presence at O’Hare International Airport ranked second to last with a score of 64.

After 18 years of nearly undisputed customer satisfaction leadership, Southwest relinquished first place to JetBlue.

Southwest’s merger with low-cost competitor AirTran seems to have dampened its passenger satisfaction, according to ASCI.

With an overall score of 67, airlines are one of the lowest-indexing industries measured by ASCI.

Only subscription TV service (66) and the fast-fading newspaper industry (64) rate lower.

The ACSI Airline Rankings

JetBlue 81
Southwest 77
All Others 74
US Airways 65
Delta 65
American 64
United 62

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services. The ACSI uses data from interviews with roughly 70,000 customers annually for measuring customer satisfaction.