JetBlue Airways

Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways top passenger satisfaction survey

Alaska Airlines and JetBlue have come out on top of this year’s J.D. Power and Associates 2012 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, which was released today.

The highly regarded study found that after two years of consecutive industry improvements, overall passenger satisfaction has declined slightly (to 681 index points on a 1,000-point scale—down from 683 in 2011) and that “attributes pertaining to a carrier’s process and people, rather than price, are more highly correlated with passengers’ intentions to fly with an airline again in the future.”

Travelers reported increased satisfaction with so-called low-cost carriers for the third consecutive year (up 3 index points from 2011 to a 754 average), but satisfaction with traditional carriers was down (the decline was 4 points, to 647).

“Passengers want it all,” Stuart Greif, J.D. Power’s vice president and general manager of the global travel and hospitality practice, said in a statement. “The airline industry is caught between trying to satisfy customers who demand low prices, high-quality service and comfort, and contending with the economic challenges of profitably operating an airline.”

In the traditional network carrier rankings, Alaska Airlines ranks highest overall for the fifth consecutive year, performing well in four of the seven factors: boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; check-in; and reservation. Air Canada was just just 1 index point behind Alaska Airlines in this segment, with high rankings in the cost and fees, in-flight services and aircraft factors.

Delta Air Lines moved up two rank positions to third and was the only traditional carrier to improve from 2011, by 9 index points.

In the low-cost carrier rankings, JetBlue Airways ranked highest for a seventh consecutive year, performing well in the in-flight services and aircraft categories. JetBlue was followed closely by Southwest, which performed well in four factors: cost and fees; boarding/deplaning/baggage; check-in; and reservation. Neither airline charges a fee (yet) for a passenger’s first checked bag.

The study measures overall customer satisfaction based on performance in seven factors (in order of importance): cost and fees; in-flight services; boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservation.

You can read more details here.

JetBlue’s summer reading program

JetBlue and PBS kids have rolled out a fun literacy program that will not only entertain kids, but help keep the cabin noise level in check.

The program has several elements, but here at StuckatTheAirport.com we’re most pleased to learn that kids on JetBlue flights this summer will receive a free activity kit with reading games, including this fun word find exercise.

Kids and their parents can also download a reading activity kit, create a summer reading list, log reading minutes and do other activities. And for every reader that registers on SoarwithReading.com, JetBlue will make a book donation to a child through First Book, up to 10,000 books.

Soar with Reading will also be giving $10,000 worth of children’s books to one community’s library. Another library will receive $2,500 worth of books and five other libraries will receive $500 worth of books, courtesy of Random House Children’s Books and JetBlue. You can nominate a library and, as a reward, be entered to win a vacation package to the Bahamas.

So it’s win-win-win all around.

College-bound? It’s time for Travel Deals 101

Heading to college or sending a kid off to school?

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Once tuition, room, and board bills are paid, there may not be much cash left over for actually traveling between home and the college campus.  But, as I write in my Well Mannered Traveler column on MSNBC.com today, some airlines offer a little help.

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Lufthansa, Air Tran, United, JetBlue and American offer some sort of perks for students.

Here are some of the more popular travel discounts:

AirTran Airways has a discount standby program not just for college students, but for anyone 18 to 22 years old. (College student or not: on your 23rd birthday, you age-out of the program.)  AirTran U lets young people fly standby for $69 on short segment flights and $99 on long-haul segments.  There are some blackout dates and a variety of restrictions, but during 2008, more than 83,000 young people took advantage of the program.

Lufthansa’s GenerationFly program offers any U.S. college student with a valid .edu email address discounted fares to Germany and most every destination the airline flies. As a nice bonus, part-time students, teachers, and faculty members are also eligible to participate in the program.

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Several other programs have special airline offers for students as well.

The discounts promised by the Student Advantage Card (about $20/year) include a 10% discount on American Airline flights. And on its Web site, American Airlines offer discounts on vacation packages to students at about two dozen participating universities.

JetBlue offers an 11% discount to students who have an ISIC card (International Student Identity Card), which costs $22 a year. Holders of that card can also book special discounted fares with STA Travel, one of the major discount student travel agencies, which offers tickets that allow changes for just $50.

And, while United Airlines United Airlines doesn’t offer any special discounts for college-age students, the carrier’s College Plus program gives students enrolled in both the College Plus program and the Mileage Plus frequent flier program a graduation present of 10,000 bonus miles.

The deals for student travelers don’t end at the airport. Amtrak and Greyhound and even some hotels also offer discounts to students who have either the ISIC or Student Advantage card.

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To find out more – and learn about some hotel deals for parents of college students, see the full column Travel Discounts for the college-bound on MSNBC.com.

Tidbits for travelers: A travel job & offbeat travel insurance

Laid off or worried about getting laid off?

In addition to JetBlue’s  promise to refund your airfare if you get laid off, here are two other travel-related outfits that want you to rest easy:

In Park City, Utah the Washington School Inn’s “Pink Slip Protection” package promises to refund your deposit if you get laid off. And the folks at SkyRoll are offering to sell new job seekers (i.e. folks recently laid off) a 50% discount on luggage that might be useful for traveling to your next interview.

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And  if you don’t have a job,  then consider applying for this:  The folk at STA, a student and youth travel company, are looking for two summer interns.  This is no “go get coffee” internship:  the lucky interns will get to travel around the world for free.  Along the way, they’ll blog, shoot and edit video and take photos.

Interested or know someone who should apply? The deadline to turn in a video application for the STA internship is  March 8th.

I’m thinking about it…

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Tidbits for travelers: airfare refunds, prizes, free stuff and special deals

Here’s a quick round-up of recession specials for air travelers and other tidbits you might find useful:

American Airlines has kicked off a Milestones contest: One first-place winner will receive 275,000 AAdvantage miles; 10 second-place winners will each get 1,000 AAdvantage miles.   To enter: register and post an interesting tidbit about a cool place somewhere in the world.  Winners will be announced on or around May 15, 2009. Details here.

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Jet Blue Airways has announced a promotion offering to refund (most of) the price of your ticket if you lose your job between the time you pay for your ticket and the time you’re scheduled to take your trip.  Here’s a link to the offer and the restrictions.

Canada’s WestJet is celebrating the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama is visiting Canada by offering a little one day discount sale. Use the code “Obama” to book a ticket today (Feb 19th) and get $50 off.  Details here.

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And travelers passing through New York’s LaGuardia Airport will now find organic foods, healthy treats, fruit, vegetables, deli items, sandwiches, salads and other items at Angelina’s Metro Market, pre-security in the Central Terminal. Angelina’s Panini Bar, a satellite of the Metro Market, will open post-security at the B Gates,  later this month.

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See anything fun, new, interesting or strange while you’re stuck at the airport?  Let me know and we’ll add it to the blog.