The #1 airline in America is…

|
The #1 airline in America is…
Image Credit: Dreamstime
Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.
Advertisement

Alaska Airlines has unseated Virgin America, the airline it recently acquired, to take the top spot in the just-released 2017 Airline Quality Rating.

Delta finished a close second, according to the 27th annual study of U.S. airlines.

Read more: The #1 rule of cheap travel

Alaska Airlines tops Airline Quality Rating

The report found the airline industry overall improved in four key areas: on-time performance, rate of involuntary denied boardings, rate of mishandled bags and customer complaints.

Going from fifth to first place, Alaska was one of nine airlines to improve in 2016. The others were American, Delta, ExpressJet, Frontier, SkyWest, Southwest, Spirit and United.

On the other hand, scores declined for Hawaiian, JetBlue and Virgin America, which was last year’s top airline.

Overall findings

On-time arrival percentage was 81.4% in 2016 compared to 79.9% in 2015.

  • Best in category: Hawaiian
  • Worst in category: Spirit

Involuntary denied boardings per passenger served by the industry improved to 0.62 per 10,000 passengers in 2016 from 0.76 per 10,000 passengers in 2015.

  • Best in category: Hawaiian and Delta
  • Worst in category: ExpressJet

Mishandled baggage rate was better, decreasing to 2.70 per 1,000 passengers in 2016. It was 3.24 per 1,000 passengers in 2015.

  • Best in category: Virgin America
  • Worst in category: ExpressJet

The consumer complaint rate declined to 1.52 per 100,000 passengers in 2016 from 1.90 per 100,000 passengers in 2015.

  • Best in category: Southwest
  • Worst in category: Spirit

Alaska, the top airline, saw performance improvement in two of the four areas tracked. Its on-time arrival performance increased by about 1%, and the rate of mishandled baggage was cut by 50%.

Here are the new rankings, from best to worst

1) Alaska Airlines

  • On-time arrival performance: 87.3%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Worsened
  • Customer complaint rate: Unchanged

2) Delta Air Lines

  • On-time arrival performance: 86.5%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Improved
  • Customer complaint rate: Improved

3) Virgin America

  • On-time arrival performance: 76.2%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Worsened
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Unchanged
  • Customer complaints: Worsened

4) JetBlue

  • On-time arrival performance: 75%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Worsened
  • Customer complaint rate: Improved

5) Hawaiian Airlines

  • On-time arrival performance: 91.1%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Worsened
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Worsened
  • Customer complaint rate: Worsened

6) Southwest Airlines

  • On-time arrival performance: 80.8%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Improved
  • Customer complaint rate: Improved

7) SkyWest Airlines

  • On-time arrival performance: 82.3%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Improved
  • Customer complaint rate: Improved

8) United Airlines

  • On-time arrival performance: 81.7%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Improved
  • Customer complaint rate: Improved

9) American Airlines

  • On-time arrival performance: 79.4%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Improved
  • Customer complaint rate: Improved

10) ExpressJet

  • On-time arrival performance: 79.8%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Improved
  • Customer complaint rate: Improved

11) Spirit Airlines

  • On-time arrival performance: 74.3%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Improved
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Worsened
  • Customer complaint rate: Improved

12) Frontier Airlines

  • On-time arrival performance: 76%
  • Mishandled baggage rate: Worsened
  • Involuntary denied boardings: Improved
  • Customer complaints: Improved

Read more: The best day of the week to book a cheap flight

Why you should always take pictures of your rental car

Advertisement
Mike Timmermann About the author: Mike Timmermann
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
View More Articles
  • Show Comments Hide Comments