And the best airline in the U.S. is …
Virgin America ranked No. 1 in an annual airline rating report for the second consecutive year.
Overall, the U.S. airline industry had its best-ever performance in 2013 on the?Airline Quality Rating, released Monday. The statistical study of U.S. airlines, co-authored by aviation and marketing professors, has been conducted since 1991.
The airline ratings are determined using a formula that considers multiple factors in consumer decision-making. On-time performance receives the most weight in the formula, followed by denied boardings, mishandled baggage and customer complaints. Data for all the criteria are drawn from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report.
Virgin America, the top overall scorer, had a slight dip in its on-time performance in 2013 from 2012, dropping to 82.1% from 83.5%. The airline had the best record for baggage handling in 2013 among all the airlines rated.
The U.S. airline industry saw an overall improvement in 2013 over 2012, according to the study, despite declines in two of four areas considered.
“I think generally speaking for the last several years we’ve been in a pretty good place from a performance standpoint,” said study co-author Dean Headley, an associate professor of marketing at Wichita State University. The Airline Quality Rating is conducted jointly by Headley and Brent Bowen, a professor and dean at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
“As an industry we’re in a good spot. People seem to be flying. Price isn’t scaring them away, which seems to be what people look at most,” Headley said. What doesn’t always match up with performance is consumer perception of air travel, he said. The ratings don’t assess airfares.
Here are the rankings of the U.S. carriers evaluated by the rating:
1. Virgin America
6. Endeavor Air
7. US Airways
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Source: Marnie Hunter (2014). And the best airline in the U.S. is …, CNN http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/07/travel/airline-quality-ratings/ published Apr 07, 2014. Viewed Apr 08, 2014.