The 11 best and worst airlines in America

Southwest AirlinesA Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8.
  • Consumer Reports released its rating of America’s 11 major commercial airlines.
  • The airlines are scored based on survey responses from more than 55,000 travellers who completed domestic flights from July 2016 to June 2017.
  • In economy, all airlines received low scores for seat comfort and legroom while also struggling with in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The complexities of air travel can be overwhelming these days. Even with fewer airlines to choose from, deciding which one to fly can still be an exercise in frustration.

Well, Consumer Reports is here to help.

The organisation, best known for its independent product evaluation and consumer advocacy, has released a comprehensive ranking of America’s 11 major commercial airlines using information gathered from a survey of passengers who completed domestic flights from July 2016 to June 2017.

Parameters of the survey included questions on pricing transparency, ease of check-in, information on flight status, seating comfort, legroom, staff service, cabin cleanliness, Wi-Fi connectivity, in-flight entertainment, and the selection of complimentary snacks and paid food and drinks.

The 11 airlines were rated based on a reader score. A score of 100 means respondents are completely satisfied with the airline. A score of 80 means passengers are very satisfied, while a 60 means folks somewhat satisfied.

Consumer Reports broke down their ratings into two segments, business/first class and economy.

Based on replies from 5,059 respondents who made 8,702 flights in business or first class, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines shared a spot at the top of the premium cabin rankings with a score of 89. The duo was followed closely by Delta with a score of 85. American and United closed out the ranking with scores of 80 and 79.

Since the vast majority of us spend our time back in the economy section, we’ll spend more time on this portion of the Consumer Reports ranking.

Here, the publication based its ratings on information from 52,507 respondents who completed 97,765 flights in economy.

According to Consumer Reports, the overall trend in economy-class travel is something with which we’re all familiar: It’s really uncomfortable back there. Every airline in the survey received low scores for legroom and seat comfort. In addition, most airlines also struggled with in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Here’s a closer look at how the economy-class offerings of America’s 11 major airlines fared, according to Consumer Reports:


Spirit Airlines: Reader Score — 62


Frontier Airlines: 63

Frontier Airlines

United Airlines: 67

United Airlines

American Airlines: 68

American Airlines

Allegiant Airlines: 70

Airbus

Delta Air Lines: 75

Delta

Hawaiian Airlines: 80

Hawaiian Airlines

Virgin America: 83

Virgin America

JetBlue Airways: 83

JetBlue

Alaska Airlines: 84


Southwest Airlines: 85

Southwest Airlines

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