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Airline Customer Service: Still Not as Bad as Cable TV

Man, people still hate the airlines. A lot. According to survey data released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, airlines rank 40th out of 44 industries in customer satisfaction—behind such bastions of customer service as cell-phone companies, the U.S. Postal Service, and municipal utilities. The only industries that ranked worse were cable TV, social networks, and Internet service providers.

Among the airlines, JetBlue (JBLU) and Southwest (LUV) scored least badly, rated 79 and 78, respectively. That puts JetBlue on par with clothing companies and drug stores and Southwest in league with banks and hospitals. Both companies fell since last year, though, suggesting they might be heading into health-insurer and gas station territory, if they’re not careful. Delta (DAL) improved the most, scoring 71, just ahead of the overall industry’s 69.

The rest of the travel industry fared slightly better. Internet travel portals did the best with a score of 77, as Orbitz (OWW) ranked slightly above Expedia (EXPE)Priceline (PCLN), and Travelocity, roughly in line with hotel performance. Among hotel chains, the Ritz-Carlton brand scored highest in customer satisfaction, with an 86 ranking, followed by JW Marriott (MAR).

Bachman is an associate editor for

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