U.S. commercial flights have improved over the years with fewer lost bags, better optional services on flights, and more on-time arrivals. Nevertheless, customer complaints have kept flowing despite the obvious improvements.
According to official data, customer complaints surged by more than a third last year alone. Researchers at the Wichita State University say that it is the highest level in 16 years. Most complaints are on delays and cancellations of flights.
But a recent analysis of official data from the Department of Transportation tries to rate the best U.S. airliners out there based on their on-line performance, mishandled luggage, and oversold flight issues.
According to the report, Virgin America is still on the top spot on the best U.S. airlines list. It is the fourth straight year the San Francisco-based company occupies the first position. Plus in 2015, it fared slightly better in luggage handling. And despite usual complaints about on-time performance and oversold flights, Virgin America is still America’s most reliable airline company. Earlier this week we learned that Alaska Airlines Group plans to acquire Virgin America for $2 billion.
Second on the list is New York-based JetBlue, which in 2015 occupied the fourth spot. Experts believe that major improvements in all sensitive areas including luggage handling, on-time performance, and the number of complaints landed the airline company in the second position. JetBlue currently ferries 35 million passengers each year.
Third on the list is Delta Air Lines as its on-time performance, luggage handling, and cancelled flight scores all improved. On the other hand, customer complaints slightly rose last year. The company transports 160 million travelers every year.
Hawaiian Airlines landed in the fourth position as its on-time performance was not that great. A year prior, it was ranked as the second best. Complaints filed and mishandled bag rates however slipped. Hawaiian started business nearly a century ago with a flight from Honolulu to Hilo, which lasted 3 hours on average. Nowadays, the same flight lasts just 52 minutes.
The Seattle-based Alaska Airlines occupies the fifth spot. The company fared better in on-time performance and oversold flights, but had deficiencies in mishandled baggage and customer complaints. The airline company announced Monday that it would acquire Virgin America.
Southwest, Skywest and United Airlines didn’t make it in the top five. They are ranked sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Skywest, however, fared better this year climbing from the 10th position to the 7th in just 12 months.
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