Internet Travel Monitor - Industry NewsAnnual airline rankings of U.S. air carriers from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have named Delta Air Lines as the best carrier in the country. The rankings come as part of a regular report on the state of the domestic airline industry published by the university each spring.
April 10, 2019
America's Highest Quality Airlines 2019
To calculate the rankings for this year's Airline Quality Rating report, researchers at Embry-Riddle looked at four key factors to rank air carriers: On-Time percentage; Denied Boardings; Mishandled Baggage; and Customer Complaints. Each of the categories is also weighted; On-Time performance takes the highest precedence when calculating an airline's score while the volume of customer complaints is the least important factor.
All told, this year Delta Air Lines had the best score among all of its peers. The carrier edged out low cost carrier JetBlue by a narrow margin to take the number one slot after two years in second place behind Alaska Airlines, which dropped to fourth place this year. In 2009, Delta was ranked as low as 15th place out of 18 carriers in the study, but over ten years, it has slowly climbed the charts to its current dominant position. The carrier also heartily beat its legacy competitors of American and United, which were ranked as 8th and 6th respectively out of 9 carriers surveyed. Only low cost carrier Frontier Airlines was ranked behind American this year.
The full rankings of air carriers in this year's Airline Quality Rating report were:
Notably, Embry-Riddle's rankings also don't consider a handful of key factors that consumers may take into consideration when booking a flight, including the general quality of the passenger experience and the quality of the frequent flyer program. Were the study to consider the quality of the experience, however, Delta would still likely fare well. Last summer, Delta committed to investing further in seat-back entertainment across its entire fleet (where both American and United are leaning away from that strategy) while J.D. Power ranks Delta as having the second highest customer satisfaction rankings in the country.
Where Delta's operation may be lacking is in the quality of its loyalty program. Ever since the carrier moved to a revenue-based model for earning frequent flyer miles, it has consistently lost to competitors in annual rankings from the likes of Flyertalk and The Freddies. With other carriers now following that model though, the scales in that area may also start to even out.
Copyright 2019 Forbes Media LLC. All rights reserved. From https://www.forbes.com. Contributor: Grant Martin.
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