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What’s Your Favorite Airline?

By Robert Firpo-Cappiello
March 20, 2018
Southwest Jet
Courtesy Southwest Airlines
A recent survey reveals what may be America’s best-run airline. What’s your opinion?

Say the word “airline” to any traveler and you’ll get an earful: Opinions, anecdotes, gripes, suggestions, outrage, and sometimes even some happy memories.

About those “happy memories”: Consumer Reports (consumerreports.org) recently surveyed 55,000 members to rate major air carriers. The people surveyed had logged nearly 98,000 domestic economy flights and more than 8,000 first-class and business flights, and responded to factors including seat comfort and legroom, cleanliness, service, food and beverages, Wi-Fi, and pricing transparency. We’re finding Consumer Reports’ survey results enlightening and inspiring.

TOP-RATED AIRLINES

Southwest topped the list of airlines, with high scores for service, check-in, and cleanliness, and also scored well for pricing transparency. We’re not surprised, as we’ve appreciated Southwest’s listing of fees and free two-bag check-in policy. Other domestic carriers that ranked favorably include Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Virgin America, and Hawaiian Airlines. Alaska and Hawaiian both ranked especially well among first-class and business travelers. As for those airlines that didn’t rank as well? Let’s just say it was “the rest of them” and leave it at that.

PEOPLE SAY “NO” TO HIDDEN FEES

Coach passengers are not fond of unclear pricing policies and hidden fees. More than half of the survey respondents told Consumer Reports that they had paid extra to select a better seat and 40 percent were charged an extra fee to check a bag.

IS COACH GETTING LESS COMFORTABLE?

Thirty percent of surveyed coach passengers said their seat was uncomfortable, with seat comfort and legroom being a major negative factor on economy flights. Similarly, food and beverages (both complimentary and paid) were ranked below average by coach passengers, and most airlines ranked poorly for Wi-Fi and entertainment options.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AIRLINE?

Now it’s your turn: We want to know which domestic carrier you rank number one. Post a comment below, email us at info@budgettravel.com, or follow us on social media to get in on the conversation.

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