11 May, 2011

Southwest Airlines Tops Magazine Rankings


Consumer Reports

Readers of Consumer Reports in America say Southwest Airlines Co. and JetBlue Airways Corp. offer the best service, and troubled US Airways is the worst.
The magazine released results yesterday of a poll of some 14,861 subscribers taken between January 2010 and January 2011. The survey covered 29,720 flights.
Dallas-based Southwest led the group of 10 carriers with a score of 87, followed by JetBlue with 84. US Airways scored a 61.  Southwest was the only airline to get much better than average ratings on check-in ease and cabin-crew service.  JetBlue was the only carrier to get better or much better than average in all categories.
US Airways, which also finished last in Consumer Reports’ last airline report in 2007, was the only carrier in this year’s survey whose cabin-crew service rated much worse than average.  
No. 7 American Airlines Inc., No. 8 Delta Air Lines Inc., No. 9 United Airlines Inc. and US Airways Inc. each received only one average rating, on check-in ease. Everything else was worse than average or much worse than average.
JetBlue was the only carrier to get better than average on seating comfort, and much better than average on in-flight entertainment. In fact, it was the only airline that didn’t get a worse than average or much worse than average rating on entertainment.
Southwest’s one black mark was on in-flight entertainment; it provides none. The magazine’s readers rated Southwest average in seating comfort; better than average on cabin cleanliness and baggage handling; and much better than average on check-in ease and cabin-crew service.
Fort Worth-based American scored average on check-in ease; worse than average on cabin-crew service and cabin cleanliness; and much worse than average on bags, seating and in-flight entertainment.    On the area of fees, 93 per cent of Southwest passengers said they paid no fees, compared with 33 per cent of AirTran Airways Inc.’s passengers. Everyone else was in between.
AirTran, bought last week by Southwest Airlines, will continue to charge its fees on first and second checked bags for the time being until its integration with Southwest is further along.   “What we found is that paying fewer additional fees generally translates into a passenger having higher overall satisfaction with an airline,” said Mark Kotkin, a Consumer Reports director of survey research
Among the carriers not included in this year’s rankings were Virgin America, Allegiant Air, Hawaiian Airlines Inc, Republic Airways, Pinnacle Airlines and SkyWest. 
How they ranked
Airline                                         Score
1. Southwest Airlines                              87
2. JetBlue Airways                                  84
3. Alaska Air                                          79
4. Frontier Airlines                                 78
5. AirTran Airways                                 74
6. Continental Airlines                            72
7. American Airlines                               65
8. Delta Air Lines                                   64
9. United Airlines                                   63
10. US Airways                                        61