Annual Airline Quality Rankings Out – UA Tops Complaints, AA Worst for On-Time Flights…Who Actually Did Well?

by Adam

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 Unitedthe worst score among U.S. carriers

Complaints per 100,000 passengers on Southwestthe 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 Bluethe 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.

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