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America's airline satisfaction at a seven-year high

Alaska Airlines Cance

In this June 11, 2009 file photo, an Alaska Airlines airliner is pushed away from a gate at SeaTac Airport in SeaTac, Wash. (AP)

Despite the common complaints of airlines imposing insane fees or planes being overcrowded, customer satisfaction is at its highest level since 2006, and is on the rise. 

Overall satisfaction with the airline industry jumped to an average score of 695 out of 1,000, a 14-point increase from last year alone, according to J.D. Power & Associates’ 2013 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, released Wednesday.

“A lot of what’s driving the gain has to do with technology, innovation and people,” study director Jessica McGregor said in a statement. “Those are the areas where there’s been a lot of strong performance.”

She pointed to things such as the ability to check in online and surf the Web in the air as helping boost satisfaction.

So which airline performed the best? 

In terms of low cost airlines, JetBlue Airways, for the ninth consecutive year, was ranked the highest with a satisfaction score of 787 out of 1,000.  Southwest Airlines came in second with 770 points. On average, low-cost carriers improved to an overall score of 755, up one point since last year.

Performance of traditional carriers also rose, jumping 16 points to an overall score of 663 points. Alaska Airlines, ranked first in the traditional carrier segment for a sixth consecutive year, with a score of 717. Delta Air Lines moved up one rank into second space with a score of 682, improving by 23 points from 2012.

The survey was based on responses from more than 11,800 fliers who traveled on a major North American carrier between April 2012 and March 2013.

Click here more on the 2013 North America Airline Satisfaction Study.