The U.S. Airlines and Hotels Consumers Love Most

Second only to pilots, flight attendants are the savviest frequent flyers out there. You may think you know a thing or two about dealing with long flights and how to find cheap tickets, but no one knows the ins and outs of air travel and airline service better than the people who get paid to do it.
From dealing with ridiculous passenger complaints to having to resolve all kinds of issues, your flight attendant has quite a bit of knowledge that they’re usually more than willing to share. There may be some information, however, that they’re less likely to volunteer, but it’s useful all the same. Learn how to better navigate the nerve-wracking and often exhausting experience that is air travel with these 25 things your flight attendant won’t tell you.
Is first class on its way out? An increasing number of airlines including British Airways, Delta, and United are trading in their first class seats in favor of more business class and economy seating, and now first class seating on certain Korean Air flights is the latest to bite the dust.According to the Straits Times, Korean Air announced on Wednesday that it is removing first class seats from 27 international flights starting in June, leaving only two seating options (economy and prestige) on 76 of its 111 routes.The company said the change was due to low demand for first class tickets, and a need to maximize profitability and efficiency. At the moment, there is no first class seating for most of Korean Air’s short-haul routes, according to the Straits Times.First class seating demand has dwindled in recent years, despite the incredible perks like lie-flat seats, more privacy, more legroom, and better food. According to The Economist, executives are opting for business class, and many former first class customers are choosing to fly private.View From The Wing pointed out that the increasing quality of business class seating has become a factor as well.But if you are still hoping to kick back in first class, Korean Air will still be offering the option for its major short-haul routes, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Osaka, and Manila, among others.“We will do our best to minimize the inconvenience of first-class passengers and maintain quality service for prestige-class passengers," a Korean Air spokesperson told the Straits Times.But even as first class seats give way to business, economy class will still be the main go-to for many travelers. If you can’t afford a premium ticket (or it's not offered on your route), here are still some ways to make your economy seat feel like first class anyway.
a large building with a clock on the side of a road: The U.S. Airlines and Hotels Consumers Love Most

The report is based on email interviews with 12,870 customers conducted between April 5, 2018, and March 27, 2019. In it, airlines, hotels, online travel booking sites, and their services in general are ranked on a scale of 1 to 100.

Customers placed Alaska at the top of the airline rankings, with an ACSI score of 80, up from 79 in 2018. Last year, Southwest topped the list with a score of 80, but this year Southwest dipped to second place with a score of 79. JetBlue tied for second place both years with a consistent score of 79.

The report’s authors concluded that Alaska has benefitted from its merger with Virgin America, which was finalized last year, resulting in an expanded network of flights and lower airfares for Alaska passengers.

Former favorite Southwest has faced some headwinds of late, according to ACSI, including the fact that it has more Boeing 737 Max models in its fleet than any other airline—aircraft the Federal Aviation Administration grounded after both Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air experienced deadly Boeing 737 Max crashes. The federally mandated order has resulted in numerous cancellations for all carriers with Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

a close up of a boat: What You Can Do If Ongoing Boeing 737 Max Groundings Impact Your Next Flight

Delta remained in the top spot among legacy carriers with a score of 75 (up one point from last year), followed by American, which dipped one point to 73, and United with a score of 70 (up three points from last year’s score).

ACSI’s 2019 Airline Rankings (and Scores)

When it came to carriers’ services, airline mobile apps and ease of check-in (which both had a score of 82) got top marks, followed by boarding experience (79), call center satisfaction, and cabin cleanliness (both 78). The lowest marks went to the availability and size of overhead storage, as well as food options (73 each) and in-flight entertainment (71). The list bottomed out with seat comfort (69). Why are we not surprised?

Hotels are slipping

Overall guest satisfaction with hotels dropped to a score of 75, down from 76 last year, according to the ACSI report. Hilton and Marriott topped the list as the leading hotel companies, but their score of 80 (each) was a drop from 82 and 81 last year, respectively. Hyatt maintained its place in third as well as its score of 79.

As for individual hotel brands, the luxury JW Marriott hotels topped the list with an ACSI score of 84. That was followed by Hilton’s Embassy Suites (known for its two-room suites and included breakfasts) and Marriott’s Fairfield Inn & Suites, which tied at 83, and then Hilton Garden Inn with a score of 82.

a close up of a library: Hilton’s Embassy Suites came in right behind the JW Marriott brand.© Photo by Matthew Corley/Shutterstock
Hilton’s Embassy Suites came in right behind the JW Marriott brand.

Hilton’s Embassy Suites came in right behind the JW Marriott brand.

ACSI’s 2019 Hotel Rankings (and Scores)

Hotel services have slumped in the eyes of guests, too. The ease of making a reservation and the ease of check-in topped the list of services (each at 84), but both scores were down (from 85 and 86, respectively) compared to last year. Courtesy and helpfulness of staff dipped to a score of 82 from 84, and room cleanliness and comfort fell to 81 from 82. In fact, every single service dipped save for in-room entertainment, which held steady with a score of 76 year over year.

TripAdvisor debuts at the top

While customer satisfaction with hotels was down, travel booking sites saw their overall score increase to 79, up from 78 last year. TripAdvisor, which wasn’t on the list last year, debuted in the lead with an ACSI score of 82.

ACSI’s 2019 Internet Travel Site Rankings (and Scores)

What do people love most about online booking sites? The quality of their mobile apps, which received a score of 85, followed by ease of bookings and payment, with a score of 84.

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