2011 Airline Quality Ratings – AirTran at number one

The 2011 Airline Quality Ratings (AQR) were just released, and AirTran topped the list at number one. The Atlanta based air line got top marks in the study that accounts for on time arrivals, mishandled baggage, complaints, and other metrics. The study only includes airlines in the United States and provides interesting statistics about the overall quality of domestic air travel.

The main form of complaint involved flight problems, followed by baggage. While overall complaints went up about 30% from 2009 to 2010, overall quality rating also went up marginally. This could be due to the communication channel widening to include new forms of customer feedback. AirTran handled baggage the best with only 1.63 bags mishandled per 1000 passengers. American Eagle was at the other end of the spectrum with 7.15 bags mishandled per 1000 passengers. Of all the airlines listed, Hawaiian Airlines topped the list in on time arrival. Over 92% of their flights landed on time. The full report can be viewed here.

AQR Rankings – Domestic Airlines
16. American Eagle
15. Atlantic Southeast
14. Comair
13. Mesa Air
12. United
11. American Airlines
10. Skywest9. Frontier
8. Continental
7. Delta
6. U.S. Airways
5. Southwest
4. Alaska
3. Jet Blue
2. Hawaiian
1. AirTran

flickr image via Bob B. Brown

“America’s Meanest Airlines” exposed

Today on Yahoo Travel, “America’s Meanest Airlines” were revealed. The story, “based on the Airline Quality Rating (AQR) Report, which covers 18 domestic carriers,” lambasts American Airlines, United, Delta and several other airlines, including four regional carriers.

The Airline Quality Rating Report is conducted jointly by professors at Wichita State University and Purdue University. The report is generated using “subjective surveys of consumer opinion that are infrequently done,” with the goal of creating “a rating for individual airlines with interval scale properties that is comparable across airlines and across time.” The AQR Report has been around since 1991 and issues yearly results in a month-by-month format with data on the rate of customer complaints, denied boarding and more.

Sins such as baggage fees are cited in the Yahoo Travel article, as are additional sources of consumer complaints. For example, “this year AA has had frequent incidents of mishandled baggage with an average of 4.07 reports per 1,000 passengers, according to the Air Travel Consumer Reports.” That’s a brutal ratio by anyone’s standards.

The 2010 AQR Report is available online if you’d like to investigate further yourself.

[via Yahoo Travel]

[Photo by lazlo-photo via Flickr.]