hawaiian-airlines-plane.jpgAirlines with fewer flights and fewer passengers have translated into better performance for the customer.

For the second consecutive year, the performance of the nation’s leading carriers improved, according to the annual national Airline Quality Rating. It was the third best overall score in the 19 years researchers have tracked the performance of airlines.

Released during a news conference at the National Press Club today, the rankings show that of the 17 air carriers rated in both 2008 and 2009, all but Alaska Airlines had improved Airline Quality Rating scores for 2009.

The industry improved in three of the four major elements of the AQR: on-time performance, baggage handling and customer complaints. Denied boardings is the only element where the performance declined.

Below is the 2010 ranking of the nation’s leading 18 airlines, according to the Airline Quality Rating, with the 2009 ranking in parentheses:

1.     Hawaiian (1)
2.     AirTran (2)
3.     JetBlue (3)
4.     Northwest (4)
5.     Southwest (6)
6.     Continental (8)
7.     Frontier (7)
8.     US Airways (10)
9.     American (9)
10.   ExpressJet (not ranked in 2009 report)
11.   Alaska (5)
12.   Mesa (14)
13.   United (11)
14.   SkyWest (13)
15.   Delta (12)
16.   Comair (15)
17.   Atlantic Southeast (17)
18.   American Eagle (16)

The Airline Quality Rating is a joint project funded as part of faculty research activities at Purdue University and Wichita State University.

(Read about which airline had best baggage rates and worst on-time record at NPR.org)

Leave a Reply