U.S. airlines are performing better than they have in decades, and Virgin America and JetBlue are leading the way, according to a new ranking.
The 24th annual Airline Quality Rating was produced by researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University.
It’s based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation for on-time performance, denied boardings, mishandled baggage, and customer complaints. Each category is weighted to reflect its importance to passengers.
As a whole, the U.S. airline industry posted its best score since 1991, despite losing ground in on-time performance and baggage handling. Only airlines that handled at least 1% of domestic scheduled-service passenger revenues were included.
Here’s the final ranking for 2013, with each airline’s 2012 rank in parentheses. Most carriers didn’t move too far in the past year, though AirTran dropped from third to tenth:
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