We already know Southwest Airlines has stellar customer service, but a study released last week proves it’s also top-notch for frequent fliers.
When it comes time to trade reward points points for a seat, the airline does the best job of getting passengers on a flight, according to IdeaWorks, a Wisconsin-based consultant for the airline industry.
Last March, IdeaWorks submitted 6,680 booking requests through the frequent flier websites of 23 airlines. Seats were requested for the most popular routes spanning June through October.
The study found that low-cost airlines such as JetBlue, AirTran and Southwest had a 93.5 per cent success rate of finding available seats. However, larger carriers such as American Airlines, Delta and US Airways only had a 62.9 per cent rate.
Air Berlin tied with Southwest for having the best seat availability (100 per cent), while American (45.7 per cent), US Airways (33.6 per cent) and Delta Airways (27.1 per cent) came in last place.
The reason, says IdeaWorks, is that Southwest and Air Berlin excel at making frequent fliers a priority.
“These programs obviously treat reward travel as a priority and management allocates meaningful inventory to the effort, incurring an opportunity cost for the seats not sold for cash,” wrote the study’s authors.
But that’s not to say the other airlines aren’t working to pick up the slack.
“Nine airlines scored above 80% for 2012, which is much improved from five airlines above 80% in 2010, the first year of the survey,” said Daniel Farrar, CEO of Switchfly. “Airlines are also improving alternate reward options. More and more now provide the ability to redeem miles or points for hotel stays, car rentals, and a growing array of merchandise and unique travel experiences.”
See how all the airlines ranked below: