NEW YORK, March 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Points Guy (TPG) announced this morning that Alaska Airlines has been named the number one airline in America for the second year in a row in its annual Best Airlines Report. The 2018 report was assembled by TPG's team of aviation experts and ranks airlines in the United States, from best to worst, using a strategic methodology based on specific criteria and data, evaluating on-time arrival rates, passenger complaints, cabin comfort, baggage issues, and much more. Southwest Airlines followed Alaska Airlines, with Delta, United, and Frontier rounding out the top five ranking. By contrast, American Airlines, Spirit, JetBlue, and Hawaiian Airlines were the lowest ranked airlines in the last twelve months.
"It's been a significant year for airlines and travel in America and we're thrilled that Alaska Airlines has, once again, come out on top," said Brian Kelly, Founder and CEO of The Points Guy. "We take pride in the data we've assembled from sources across the industry and largely based all criteria on what we believe regular passengers care about most. Alaska Airlines, with Southwest and Delta to follow, are clearly doing it right."
Despite a seemingly tumultuous year in air travel, along with airline consolidations, the last 12 months have proved to be another period of many advancements in the industry. Key takeaways include:
- Alaska Reigns Again: The ongoing merger between Alaska Airlines and Virgin America hasn't slowed down this customer favorite. Alaska scored consistently well across a number of key criteria, ranking in the top three for airfare, on-time arrivals, customer satisfaction, baggage and a best-in-the-industry frequent flyer program.
- United Airlines Overcomes: Even though United made major headlines across the globe for a hostile interaction with a passenger, it only dropped two slots from last year and still remained in the top five. United boosted its performance in specific categories, improving its 'bump rate' to the third best in the industry, and decreasing passenger complaints by 17%.
- JetBlue Drops: JetBlue took the largest fall from last year, dropping from #4 to #8. The airline's performance ticked downward in several areas, including on-time arrivals (where it ranked last this year), baggage & change fees, and customer satisfaction.
- Southwest Rebounds: Southwest ranked a surprisingly low #6 last year, but made a major comeback to this year's second place spot due to gains in two key areas — lower airfare and an increase in the size of its already sizable route network. The airline continues to rate at the top of two other categories — customer satisfaction and baggage & change fees — due to its highly popular policies of not charging fees to change or cancel flights, and giving all its customers two free checked bags.
- Delta and Frontier Gain While American and Hawaiian Remain: Delta and Frontier each jumped four spots this year, up to #3 and #5 respectively. By contrast, American and Hawaiian held firm in the lower ranked portion of the report at #6 and #9, showing little change from last year's study.
"This award is a credit to our amazing, kind-hearted people who provide genuine, caring service for our guests every day," said Ben Minicucci, Alaska's president and chief operating officer. "We're focused on creating an airline people love, so even when things don't go perfectly, our people are empowered to make things right. Sometimes that makes all the difference."
The findings are based on a series of 10 weighted criteria, and data totals for each were converted to a 10 point scale, with the top airline receiving 10 points and each successive airline receiving a proportionally lower score based on the raw data. Airlines were evaluated on the below categories based on public statistics that each is mandated to report to the Department of Transportation (D.O.T.), along with other publicly available data:
- Airfare and fees charged for checked baggage and ticket changes
- Size of each airline's route network
- Mishandled bags and passengers who are "involuntarily denied boarding," otherwise known as "being bumped"
- On-time arrival rates
- Passenger complaints filed against each airline, including: flight problems, refunds, disability issues
- Number of cities and airports with lounges
- Cabin comfort
- Frequent flyer programs and elite status
To view the full report, please visit: https://thepointsguy.com/guide/best-and-worst-airlines-2018/
For a year-over-year comparison, TPG's 2017 Best Airlines Report can be viewed here.
About The Points Guy:
The Points Guy (TPG) is a trusted travel and lifestyle media platform that focuses on maximizing travel experiences while minimizing spending. Through an informative, clever point of view, TPG has become the leading online resource for all things points, miles and resourceful travel experiences. The site's editorial content consists of first-hand flight, hotel and airplane reviews, curated travel guides, immersive video components, as well as global event activations. Since its launch in 2010, Founder and CEO Brian Kelly has expanded the team to include a distinguished editorial staff and extensive network of freelancer contacts from around the globe. Today, TPG reaches 5.2 million unique monthly visitors and more than 2.2 million followers across social media platforms.
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SOURCE The Points Guy