Airline Ratings: First to Worst

U.S. & World

With a record number of people flying in the U.S, a new study says those travelers are getting treated better than ever.

Baggage handling mistakes hit a record low last year, so did the number of people bumped from oversold flights.

Dr. Dean Headley from Wichita State University says, “I would have to say overall the airline experience is getting better for most people.” Headley cautions though, “There are still people that are disappointed.”

Frustration that boiled over, leading to passengers clashing with flight crews. Last year, there were several high profile incidents, Including a passenger being dragged off a United flight in Chicago.

Add in more complex fees for where to sit or what service to receive in flight, and you see why many people think flying is a miserable experience.

“A lot of the complaints we get from consumers are about the pricing structures,” says Dr. Brent Bowen of Embry-Riddle University who adds, “Keep in mind, most people don’t fly all that often, and the occasional traveler is frustrated by all this.”

The top airline for a second year in a row was Alaska, edging out Delta and Jetblue. By comparison, Expressjet, Frontier, and Spirit were the worst in the airline quality rating.

One reason Spirit finished last was that it’s complaint rate is higher than other airlines, but Spirit says it’s complaint rate is actually improving, and this study fails to give the airline credit for offering low fares that are popular with its customers.

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