The Airline Quality Rating report for 2016 has been released and Spirit Airlines is no longer ranked as the worst US airline. It seems that the new CEO, Bob Fornaro, has really delivered on improving customer service. Previous CEOs worried only about having the lowest fares and were adamant that “winning on price” was enough to convince customers to buy tickets.
The report ranks airlines based on complaints filed by passengers with the US DOT, on-time performance, mishandled bags, and involuntary denied boardings. The 2015 report saw Spirit falter on on-time departure percentage (just 69% of flights) and complaints to the US DOT (11.73 per 100K customers).
Well the new report shows on-time performance and mishandled baggage rates improving for the airline, but the biggest positive movement came from the number of complaints to the DOT, dropping from 11.73 per 100K passengers to 6.74. This is still far worse than other US carriers.
On-time performance of 69.0% in 2015 was improved to 74.3% in 2016. Spirit’s rate of involuntary denied boarding performance of 0.31 per 10,000 passengers in 2015 declined to 0.58 for 2016. Their mishandled baggage rate of 2.16 per 1,000 passengers in 2016 improved from 2.57 in 2015. A customer complaint rate of 11.73 complaints per 100,000 passengers in 2015 was reduced to 6.74 in 2016. This rate does not compare well to the industry average of 1.52 for all airlines rated. Overall, Spirit Airlines entered the AQR ratings 2015 with the worst AQR score (-3.18) of any airline rated that year. Their AQR score of -2.01 is the most improved of all airlines rated in 2016.
Meanwhile, Frontier Airlines fell into the last spot, down one from the prior year despite the airline improving in all key areas besides mishandled bags. The top 3 spots belong to Alaska, Delta, and Virgin America.
Check out the full report and details for each airline ranked here.