Earlier today, Wichita State and Purdue University researchers released their annual Airline Quality Rankings. Virgin America, who was evaluated for the first time, scored highest overall. The Week does a great job of breaking down which airlines need more work and who actually scored well in the rankings:
Complaints from air customers to the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2012. “The complaints are regarded as indicators of a larger problem because many passengers may not realize they can file complaints with the Transportation Department, which regulates airlines,”says the AP’s Lowy.
Complaints per 100,000 passengers in 2012
Percentage increase in complaints from 2011, when 1.19 passengers per 100,000 complained
Complaints per 100,000 passengers on United — the worst score among U.S. carriers
Complaints per 100,000 passengers on Southwest — the best score among U.S. carriers
Ticketed passengers bumped (denied boarding) from oversold flights, out of every 10,000 passengers. “With carriers trying to fill every seat and maximize the profit of every flight don’t be surprised if the number of denied boardings continues to climb in the future,” says CNBC’s Philip LeBeau.
Ticketed passengers (per 10,000) bumped from full flights in 2011
Passengers per 10,000 denied boarding on regional carrier SkyWest — the worst among U.S. airlines
Passengers (per 10,000) denied boarding on Virgin America
Passengers (per 10,000) denoted boarding on Jet Blue — the best among U.S. airlines
Average percentage of flights that arrived on time in 2012
Average percentage of flights that arrived on time in 2011. See, “at a time when U.S. airlines are a whipping post for passenger complaints about crowded flights, tight seats, costly tickets, and unsatisfactory service, there is a glimmer of hope,” says CNN’s Jim Barnett.
Percentage of on-time flights at Hawaiian Airlines — the best record among U.S. carriers
Percentage of on-time flights at American and ExpressJet — the worst record among U.S. carriers
Mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers in 2012
Mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers in 2011
…and then there’s the overall rankings. From Purdue’s website:
Below is the current numerical ranking of the nation’s leading 14 airlines, according to the Airline Quality Rating, with the previous year’s ranking in parentheses:
1. Virgin America (new to the ranking this year)
2. JetBlue (3)
3. AirTran (1)
4. Delta (6)
5. Hawaiian (2)
6. Alaska (5)
7. Frontier (4)
8. Southwest (7)
9. US Airways (8)
10. American (10)
11. American Eagle (15)
12. SkyWest (9)
13. ExpressJet (not rated in 2011)
14. United (12)
The rankings changed most noticeably for American Eagle Airlines (from 15 up to 11) for 2012. Virgin America came into the rankings as the top-rated airline. JetBlue (2) and AirTran (3) both maintained their top-tier positions for 2012.
You can read the full report here.