Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » Leisure

Best and Worst Airlines In Airline Rankings for 2013: Virgin America Ranks Best, United Worst

Travelers Today       By    Karen Fredrickson

Updated: Apr 09, 2013 02:33 PM EDT

Text Size: A A A

Virgin America
What's the best airline in the United States? Virgin America, according to the Airline Quality Rating.(Photo : Flickr.com)

Price is always a big consideration when booking a flight, but frequent travelers also consider which airline is offering that price. Those passengers are aware that they may be stuck on a plane run by an airline company that doesn't provide good service.  

A recent report released the rankings of airlines, and Virgin America came out on top, as the airline that did the best job for its customers among leading U.S. airlines last year.

In addition to ranking at the top overall, Virgin America, which is headquartered in Burlingame, California, also had the best ranking related to baggage handling and the second-lowest rate of passengers denied seats from overbooking.

Share This Story

United Airlines, received the worst overall ranking.  Last year, their consumer complaint rate nearly doubled. United recently merged with Continental Airlines, and there have been difficulties in the integration of operations for the two carriers.

United's 2012 ranking doesn't reflect its experience over the past six months, in which the airline has made significant improvements in service, said company spokesman Rahsaan Johnson.

"Customer satisfaction is up, complaints are down dramatically and we are improving our customers experience," he said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

This report came out after airline carriers overall had their second best performance in the more than two decades since research began measuring quality of service.

The report ranked the 14 largest U.S. airlines, using factors that include on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, consumer complaints and passengers who bought tickets but were turned away because flights were over booked.

The number of consumer complaints filed with the Department of Transportation overall increased by one-fifth last year, reaching 11,445 complaints, up from 9,414 in 2011.

"Over the 20-some year history we've looked at it, this is still the best time of airline performance we've ever seen," said Dean Headley, a business professor at Wichita State University in Kansas, a co-author of the report.

The best year was 2011, which was only slightly better than last year.

This doesn't mean airlines still do have problem areas to address. Carriers keep shrinking the size of seats to fit more people on planes, and empty middle seats that used to provide a little more room are no longer. More people who have purchased tickets are being turned away due to overbooking.

It's not surprising that passengers are getting grumpier, Headley said.

"The way airlines have taken 130-seat airplanes and expanded them to 150 seats to squeeze out more revenue, I think, is finally catching up with them," he said. "People are saying, 'Look, I don't fit here. Do something about this.'

"At some point airlines can't keep shrinking seats to put more people into the same tube," he said.

Airlines are now looking to decrease the size of the already compact bathrooms in order to possibly squeeze more seats on the plane.

"I can't imagine the uproar that making toilets smaller might generate," Headley said, especially considering the weight problem plaguing the country. 

"Will it keep them from flying?" he asked. "I doubt it would."

Regional carrier SkyWest has the highest involuntary denied boarding rate last year, while both JetBlue and Virgin America were industry leaders in avoiding the practice, with rates of 0.01 and 0.07.

Consumer complaints were also significantly higher in June, July and August, when planes are the most crowded.

"As airplanes get fuller, complaints get higher because people just don't like to be sardines," said Robert W. Mann, Jr., an airline industry analyst.

These complaints are regarded as indicative of a larger problem, because airline passengers may not be aware that they can file complaints with the Transportation Department, which regulates airlines.

The report's ratings are based on statistics kept by the department for airlines that carry at least one percent of the passengers who flew domestically last year.

© 2015 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

Travel Tips

Lima, Peru

A Travel Guide to Peru: Things to Know

Peru is a cultural hub filled with unique sights to see, amazing cuisine, a plethora of activities, and is definitely somewhere worth putting on your travel bucket list, but there are a few things to know before planning your trip.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Snapchat

Girl Selfie With Dead Body: Incident Repeats In Pennsylvania, Guy Uses SnapChat To Forward Photo Of Murdered Victim

Apparently, there’s a bizarre trend going around these past few months. Teenagers have been taking selfies to the extremes. Last Feb 2014, an Alabama high school student was under fire after taking a selfie with a dead body from a biology lab. Yet, the girl selfie with dead body isn’t the worst of its kind as the latest involves a boy from Pennsylvania who took a selfie with the body of his murder victim.

Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Coast Guard Shooting In Cape Cod: Adrian Loya's 'Obsession' With Lesbian Fellow Officer Led To Deadly Shooting, One Dead And Two Injured

Coast Guard Shooting – Adrian Loya, Petty Office Second Class, has finally been arrested following the deadly shoot out leaving one female Coast Guard dead, while severely injuring another Coast Guard and a cop. What led to the deadly shooting?

Canadian Flag

Canada ALLOWING Doctor-Assisted Suicide After Highest Court’s Unanimous Ruling

Canada is now allowing doctor-assisted suicide after its highest court has approved it in a unanimous ruling on Friday.

Anthem

Anthem President Apologizes Following 80 Million Records Hack, Hoping To Earn Back Clients’ Trust

After the massive hacking incident on the personal data of Anthem clients, the president of the health insurance provider apologized in hopes of regaining the trust of the people.

Sea Lions

Starving Sea Lion Pups California: Starving Sea Lions Wash Up On Shore, Third Time In A Row, Experts In Panic

Starving Sea Lion Pups California – For the third time in a row, starving sea lion pups are washing up on the shore of California. Experts are already panicking over the latest development. What exactly is happening that has led to more than a hundred sea lion pups getting washed up on shore?

Watch: Taiwan plane crash caught on video; at least 26 dead

Taiwan Plane Crash 2014 Repeats: Another Deadly Crash In Country Reported, 31 People Dead, 12 Missing, What Happened To Flight?

Taiwan Plane Crash 2014 – In July 2014, a plane had crashed in Taiwan killing more than 40 people. In a tragic turn of events, another plane crash had occurred in Taiwan and this time it took the lives of 31 people. What exactly went wrong with the flight?

Shark Left On Subway

Shark Left On Subway: Bizarre New York Subway Encounters, Dead Shark Real Or Not?

Shark Left On Subway – For those taking a subway ride in New York City, some of you would have probably seen the most bizarre acts and stuff lying around. However, nothing beats the dead shark that was left in the subway back in the year 2013. The big question is was it a real shark or not?

Malaysian Plane crash in Ukraine after being struck down by missile. 295 passengers on board were killed.

Selfie After Plane Crash: GoPro Video Reveals Pilot Taking Selfies During Flight, Selfies Led To Colorado Plane Crash

Selfie After Plane Crash – While a number of people claim selfies are simply harmless, the latest report about a plane crash due to selfies may make them think otherwise. A pilot reportedly lost control after taking multiple selfies with passengers and his co-captain. The said selfie led to a fatal crash in Colorado in May 31.

Berlin Mosque Outspoken Against Paris Attack

Paris Jewel Heist Trial Begins For Eight Convicted, Over $100 Million Worth Of Jewels Stolen

Paris Jewel Heist Trial – In what was recorded the most spectacular jewel heists of all time, it appears that the eight men involved in the heist are now set to go to trial. Back in 2008, eight men managed to take off with an estimated worth of $92 million jewels from the Harry Winston jewelry store in Paris.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2015 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics