Passengers checking in via mobile applications are the happiest of all fliers checking into their flights, followed by passengers who check in using a mobile device, passengers who check in at an airport kiosk and those who use the main ticket counter.
Baggage fees still lower satisfaction
Even attitudes toward baggage fees are beginning to soften. Although passengers are still dissatisfied with being charged for something that used to be included in the price of a plane ticket, they aren't as grumpy about it.
The gap between passengers who pay for baggage and those who do not pay shrank to 63 points this year, compared with an 85 point gap last year and a 100 point gap in 2011. Some 37% of passengers who pay for bags agree that the fees are reasonable, compared to 28% last year and 18% in 2011.
"Baggage fees are still a point of contention for people, and it's still a 'disatisfier,' but people are starting to accept it's a cost to travel," said McGregor.
To help reduce costs, J.D. Power recommends using an airline's mobile application to check in, select seats and receive an electronic boarding pass. If you don't have an airline credit card or frequent flier status to waive baggage fees, look for discounts when checking in online.
The passenger satisfaction study is based on responses from more than 11,800 passengers who flew on a major North America airline between April 2012 and March 2013.
Overall airline rankings
Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines topped the traditional carrier rankings, followed by Air Canada (671 points), American Airlines (660), United Airlines (641) and US Airways (630).
Low-cost carriers JetBlue and Southwest were followed by WestJet (714), Frontier Airlines (708) and AirTran Ariways (705). (AirTran is now part of Southwest.)
Do you have anything nice or not so nice to say about North American airlines? Please share your positive and negative thoughts in the comments section below.