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Virgin America is highest-rated U.S. airline
« on: April 09, 2013, 07:16:36 PM »
By David M. Ewalt | Forbes – 16 hours ago
http://travel.yahoo.com/


e32d384c-ae77-4ad2-8e05-390172967d84_virginamerica - Virgin America is highest-rated U.S. airline - Travel and Tours


irgin America is the highest-quality major airline in the United States, according to the 2013 Airline Quality Rating report, an annual study of airline performance. The lowest-rated? United Airlines.

The privately owned airline – founded by billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson – has only been operating in the U.S. since 2007, but after just five years in the air it leads the way in timely arrivals, baggage handling and customer service. This is the first time it’s been included in the AQR ratings.

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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2013, 07:18:33 PM »
The Airline Quality Rating report is the premier statistical study of major airline performance in the United States and has been conducted annually since 1991. It’s authored by Dr. Dean Headley, a professor at Wichita State University, and Dr. Brent Bowen, a professor at Purdue University.

The study looks at data that the airlines are mandated by law to report to the U.S. Department of Transportation over the last twelve months, focusing on four criteria: On-time arrivals, denied boardings, mishandled bags, and customer complaints. The final overall ranking is calculated as a weighted average of all four scores.

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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2013, 07:18:57 PM »
Virgin America posts strong numbers in most of the AQR’s criteria: The airline had 83.5 percent of all flights arrive on time in 2012, compared with the industry average of 81.8%; it mishandled 0.87 bags per 1,000 passengers, well below the average of 3.07; and  it denied boarding to 0.07 ticketed passengers per 1,000, significantly below the average of 0.97.

Only the airline’s number of customer complaints –1.5 per 1,000 passengers – came in slightly high, just above the industry average of 1.43 per 1,000.

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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2013, 07:19:29 PM »
The second-ranked airline in terms of overall quality was low-cost airline Jet Blue, which posted better-than-average performance in on-time arrivals, mishandled bags and customer complaints. AirTran Airways came in third place, followed by Delta Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.

The last place finisher, fourteenth-ranked United Airlines, came in well below average in all four measured criteria; 77.4 percent on-time arrivals, 1.83 denied boardings per 1,000 passengers, 3.87 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers, and 4.24 customer complaints per 1,000 passengers.

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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2013, 07:19:49 PM »
Hawaiian Airlines boasted the best on-time performance of all the airlines in the report, at 93.4 percent; ExpressJet and American Airlines had the worst, at 76.9%. JetBlue had the least number of denied boardings, with just 0.01 per 1,000 passengers; SkyWest had the most, with 2.32 per 1,000.

Virgin America had the fewest mishandled bags, with 0.87 per 1,000 passengers; American Eagle had the most, with 5.80 per 1,000. And Southwest Airlines led the pack in terms of fewest customer complaints, just 0.25 per 1,000 passengers, while United had the most, 4.24 per 1,000.

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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2013, 07:20:19 PM »
Industry-wide, the domestic airlines improved their performance in two of the four analyzed categories from the year previous: On-time arrivals increased to 81.8% from 80%, and mishandled bags fell to 3.07 from 3.35.

Headley says that airlines are posting more on-time arrivals and fewer mishandled bags as a result of reductions in seat capacity and fewer flights in the air. “When the system gets taxed by volume, things start to fracture and they go bad,” he says. “But the system is a little simpler now.”

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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2013, 07:20:58 PM »
But other industry averages have lost altitude year over year; the number of denied boardings rose to 0.97 per 1,000 passengers from 0.78, and customer complaints climbed to 1.43 from 1.19 per 1,000 passengers. “While some things are getting better complaints are getting worse,” says Headley, “There’s a notably higher increase in volume.”

Blame the same industry belt-tightening and consolidation for more of that, he says; altered flight schedules and confusion among airline employees tend to cause overbooked flights and upset passengers.

Overall the airlines have significantly improved their performance since recording a worst-ever year in terms of quality back in 2007. But far too often, passengers still aren’t enjoying their flight, Headley says. “People are still disgruntled.”

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