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Aug-08-2014 17:40printcomments

Delta Grabs Top Spot as America's #1 Airline

On the not-so-good side of this list are Southwest, Airtran (now part of Southwest), American, US Airways (now part of American Airlines), and United, which ranked dead last.

Delta Airlines
This year Delta, which typically ends up toward the bottom of the performance list, ranked No. 1 in overall performance, thanks to more on-time arrivals, fewer canceled flights and mishandled bags and better customer service. Photo Courtesy: Delta Airlines

(ATLANTA) - Better pick your airline carefully, or you’ll be at a higher risk of getting bumped off flights, losing your luggage or having your flights delayed or canceled, a new survey reveals.

According to a report released Thursday by AirfareWatchdog.com, some domestic airlines perform better than others when it comes to canceled flights, on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, denied boarding's, and customer satisfaction.

This year Delta, which typically ends up toward the bottom of the performance list, ranked No. 1 in overall performance, thanks to more on-time arrivals, fewer canceled flights and mishandled bags and better customer service. “Delta is this year’s unsung hero,” the report revealed. It was followed by Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, and Frontier, in that order.

On the not-so-good side of this list are Southwest, Airtran (now part of Southwest), American, US Airways (now part of American Airlines), and United, which ranked dead last.

United’s abysmal ranking may be due to the fact that it had the highest number of boarding denials (nearly 246 per one million passengers, compared with just 3.58 per one million for JetBlue, which ranked highest in this category) of all the airlines examined as well as the lowest overall customer satisfaction score (it ranked 60 out of 100, compared with 79 out of 100 for JetBlue, which had the best customer satisfaction score).

American and US Airways have the second-lowest customer satisfaction scores and have a high number of mishandled bags. AirTran has the highest number of denied boardings and mishandled bags, and Southwest gets low marks in terms of mishandled bags and on-time arrivals.

Of course, these overall rankings are more nuanced than they seem. While Delta ranked first in overall performance, its boarding denials are fairly high (more than 74 per one million passengers, compared with just 3.58 per one million for JetBlue).

George Hobica, the founder of AirfareWatchdog.com,​ says JetBlue’s boarding denials are low because it is one of the only airlines that doesn’t routinely overbook flights. And though JetBlue only ranked third in overall performance, it has the highest scores in terms of both customer satisfaction and the fewest denied boardings.

Indeed, Hobica notes that JetBlue also has more legroom and “a better economy-class experience” so it’s often a great bet for flyers, even though it didn’t get the top spot this year. And Virgin America (No. 2) has the fewest mishandled bags and Alaska Airlines (No. 3) has the highest percentage of on-time arrivals.

While some airlines score better than others, the industry as a whole is still hated by consumers.

According to a 2014 survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, out of the 43 industries measured, airlines ranked 40th in terms of customer satisfaction (only Internet service providers, social media companies and cable and subscription TV providers got worse scores).

Source: MSN Money




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