Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines top 2018 airline quality rankings

By Pouyan Broukhim

The latest Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report has seen Alaska Airlines retain its title as the highest quality airline within the US, followed by Atlanta, Georgia-based Delta Airlines.

“Alaska and Delta are so tight together, we had to take it to three decimal places just to see who won,” said Dean Headley, a professor at Wichita State University and Co-author of the report, speaking to CNBC.

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2017 saw the average AQR score improve across the top airlines in the US, with nine of the 12 companies featured having seen their AQR score improve this year, with Alaska, Delta and Virgin America being the only companies to have seen their scores decline.

The rankings were based on four key percentage-based metrics including bags mishandled; on time arrivals, denied boardings and complaints to the Department of Transportation.

Mishandled baggage incidents fell from 0.27% to less than 0.25% for passengers, whilst denied boardings also dropped significantly from 0.62 to 0.34 per 10,000 passengers.

Further, complaints dropped from 1.52 per 10,000 passengers in 2016 to 1.35 through the course of last year. However, on-time arrivals declined in 2017, down to 80.2% in 2017 compared to the 81.4% recorded in 2016.

For more information, see the full Airline Quality Rating report.


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