The Washington Post

U.S. airlines are flying high

Things are looking up for U.S. airlines.  Their performance is better than it has been in decades, led by Virgin America and JetBlue.

The Airline Quality Rating 2014 — put together by researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University — was released this month. It rates the airlines for their on-time performance, denied boarding, mishandled baggage and customer complaints. Southwest was the only airline to show a decline in all four categories in 2013.

As a whole, the airline industry performed better than it has in two years, and the score was the best in the 23-year history of the report. Virgin America ranked first, followed by JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines. Coming in at the tail end were Skywest and American Eagle. Air Tran has rated in the top three since 2007, but dropped to 10th place in 2013. It was purchased by Southwest Airlines in 2011.

When judging the airlines by their annual on-time performance, Hawaiian comes out on top with over 93 percent of their flights arriving on time, followed by Alaska and Delta. Dragging in at the bottom was American Eagle with less than three-quarters of their flights arriving on time. Only slightly better were Express Jet and Frontier.

Sources: Airline Quality Rating 2014 by Brent D. Bowen and Dean E. Headley; Air Travel Consumer Report, Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, U.S. Department of Transportation. Graphic: Tobey – The Washington Post.

Data gathered for the report can be found in the Air Travel Consumer Report by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Pam Tobey is the graphics editor of the Morning Mix Web team at The Washington Post and a member of the Presentation Desk’s Information Design graphics team.



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