The Travel Trolley

Just how good is that airline?

Here’s how major domestic airlines ranked according to the recently released 22nd annual national Airline Quality Rating (last year’s rankings are in parenthesis):

  1. AirTran (1)
  2. Hawaiian (2)
  3. JetBlue (3)
  4. Frontier (9)
  5. Alaska (4)
  6. Delta (7)
  7. Southwest (5)
  8. US Airways (6)
  9. SkyWest (10)
  10. American (11)
  11. Continental (8)
  12. United (12)
  13. Atlantic Southeast (15)
  14. Mesa (13)
  15. American Eagle (16)

“As the system adjusts to increasing demand for air travel with a limited capacity of seats available, operations must be carefully handled for things to go as planned for travelers,” Dean Headley, associate professor of marketing at the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University, said in a news release.

“During 2011, the industry lowered the involuntary denied boarding rate by nearly 30 percent, suggesting that most airlines are getting it together,” Headley added. “Still, more than a third of the customer complaints for 2011 were for flight problems, such as unplanned schedule changes, delays and cancellations.”

Added Headley: “When you look at the past 12 years, you find that the airline industry performs most efficiently when the system isn’t stressed by high passenger volume and high numbers of airplanes in the air. Every time there are more planes in the sky and more people flying, airline performance suffers.”

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