Airline rankings you’ve got to see
From flight cancellations to baggage failures, there’s a lot that can go wrong with your airline when traveling. To help you out before you book the Air Travel Consumer Report by The US Department of Transportation has ranked US domestic airlines from best to worst. The report reveals the worst airlines based on four categories: flight cancellations, mishandled baggage, overbooked flights and complaints. Read on to find out which airlines are flying high and those that aren’t.
Part 1: Cancellations
One of the worst feelings when traveling is looking up at the departures board and seeing the word “cancelled” next to your flight. Part one of the report looks at the number of flight cancellations for each airline during July 2019 starting with the airlines that cancelled the least flights to the worst offenders.
Fewest cancellations: 17th Hawaiian Airlines
Cancellations: 16th Allegiant Air
Cancellations: 15th Delta Air Lines
Delta was not far behind Allegiant Air, but it’s worth noting the carrier has far more scheduled flights with 90,812 in July 2019 alone. Only 0.4% of its services were cancelled.
Cancellations: 14th Alaska Airlines
Cancellations: 13th United Airlines
Cancellations: 12th Southwest Airlines
Cancellations: 11th SkyWest Airlines
Cancellations: 10th JetBlue Airways
Cancellations: 9th Spirit Airlines
Cancellations: 8th Frontier Airlines
Cancellations: 7th American Airlines
Cancellations: 6th Mesa Airlines
If you’re traveling through Phoenix, Dallas Fort Worth or Louisville airports you’ll know Mesa as American Eagle, while the airline operates as the United Express brand at Washington Dulles and Houston. It saw 3.2% of its 20,122 flights scheduled in July stay on the runway, up on the 1.9% from last year.
Cancellations: 5th PSA Airlines
With headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, PSA is a brand owned by American Airlines flying as American Eagle. It saw 3.4% of services cancelled in July, with passengers on 846 flights facing the misery of rebooking.
Cancellations: 4th Endeavor Air
A subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, you might know them as Delta Connection, flying around the country from hubs at Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, and New York. Endeavor comes in fourth on our list of the worst cancellation offenders, also with 3.4% of its 22,312 flights staying on the tarmac.
3rd worst cancellations: Envoy Air
2nd worst cancellations: Republic Airways
Worst cancellations: ExpressJet Airlines
Part 2: Mishandled bags
Fewest mishandled bags: 17th Allegiant Air
Mishandled bags: 16th Frontier Airlines
Mishandled bags: 15th Hawaiian Airlines
Mishandled bags: 14th Alaska Airlines
For every 1,000 bags onboard Alaska Airlines’ flights, 4.32 had issues that were reported. It’s worth noting that Alaska Airlines got 2.1 million items of luggage onto its planes in July 2019 alone.
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Mishandled bags: 13th Southwest Airlines
Southwest saw 53,660 mishandled baggage reports, slightly higher than the 49,484 in 2018. That means 4.69 bags had issues for every 1,000 handled by the carrier. However, do note the airline dealt with the biggest number of luggage items of any on the list – a staggering 11.4 million bags.
Mishandled bags: 12th Endeavor Air
Mishandled bags: 11th Delta Air Lines
Mishandled bags: 10th Spirit Airlines
Mishandled bags: 9th SkyWest Airlines
Mishandled bags: 8th JetBlue Airways
Mishandled bags: 7th ExpressJet Airlines
Mishandled bags: 6th United Airlines
Mishandled bags: 5th PSA Airlines
Mishandled bags: 4th Mesa Airlines
3rd worst for mishandled bags: American Airlines
2nd worst for mishandled bags: Republic Airways
Worst for mishandled bags: Envoy Air
Part 3: Overbooking
Fewest overbookings: 17th Hawaiian Airlines
Trusty Hawaiian Airlines is first on the list with the lowest rate of people denied boarding. It saw 0.00 involuntary denied boardings per 10,000 passengers, with nobody turned away. And it handled 5.3 million (presumably happy) customers.
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Overbooking: 16th Endeavor Air
Overbooking: 15th Delta Air Lines
In 2018 only 22 people were denied boarding with Delta, but during the same period this year the company has beaten its excellent track record in this area – there was only one person who couldn’t board with the airline from January to July 2019.
Overbooking: 14th ExpressJet Airlines
Overbooking: 13th United Airlines
Overbooking: 12th JetBlue Airways
Overbooking: 11th Spirit Airlines
Overbooking: 10th Alaska Airlines
Overbooking: 9th SkyWest Airlines
Overbooking: 8th Republic Airways
Overbooking: 7th Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines takes the seventh spot with a 0.32 involuntary denied boardings per 10,000 customers, seeing 2,525 passengers unable to take to the skies. Do note that the airline’s results were partly caused by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX planes, after two flights crashed in October 2018 and March 2019. And Southwest Airlines also handled 79.5 million passengers from January to June 2019, the most of all the airlines in this section of the report.
Overbooking: 6th Frontier Airlines
Overbooking: 5th American Airlines
Although American didn’t have the highest involuntary denied boarding rate at 0.73 per 10,000 customers, it did turn away 5,022 people, the highest number of all the airlines listed here. However, like Southwest Airlines, it too was affected by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX planes which has negatively impacted the results here.
Overbooking: 4th Allegiant Air
3rd worst for overbooking: PSA Airlines
2nd worst for overbooking: Mesa Airlines
Worst for overbooking: Envoy Air
Part 4: Customer complaints
Lowest customer complaints: 17th Southwest Airlines
Customer complaints: 16th Alaska Airlines
Alaska is next with the second-lowest, only 17 formally logged complaints in total, with 0.50 grievances per 100,000 passengers. Alaska has also seen a slight drop in its complaints from 2018, when it had 24 complaints in total and a rate of 0.70 per 100,000 passengers.
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Customer complaints: 15th Endeavor Air
Customer complaints: 14th SkyWest Airlines
Customer complaints: 13th Delta Air Lines
Delta was still one of the best performers despite 102 gripes. Of these 23 were baggage complaints and 33 were flight issues, with a complaint rate of 0.65 per 100,000 passengers.
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Customer complaints: 12th PSA Airlines
Customer complaints: 11th Hawaiian Airlines
Customer complaints: 10th Republic Airways
Republic Airways (partner of American, Delta and United) has seen an increase in the rate of complaints, 0.78 per 100,000 passengers in July 2019, higher than the 0.60 figure from 2018. But in reality Republic only had 13 complaints, 12 of them were flight-related.
Customer complaints: 9th Allegiant Air
Customer complaints: 8th Mesa Airlines
Mesa (you might know them as American Eagle or United Express) is the eighth worst performer with a 1.37 complaint rate per 100,000 passengers. It was on the receiving end of 19 formal complaints in total in July 2019, the majority (16) were flight issues.
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Customer complaints: 7th JetBlue Airways
Customer complaints: 6th ExpressJet Airlines
Customer complaints: 5th United Airlines
Customer complaints: 4th Envoy Air
Envoy Air (part of American Airlines) takes the fourth spot with a complaint rate of 2.42 per 100,000 passengers. It generated 34 complaints, 28 being flight-related and two being about over-sales.
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3rd worst for customer complaints: American Airlines
2nd worst for customer complaints: Frontier Airlines
Worst for customer complaints: Spirit Airlines
This year Spirit has leapfrogged Frontier to claim the dubious crown of the airline with the highest complaints rate, 3.64 per 100,000 passengers in July 2019. That’s a slight increase from the 3.55 in 2018. Spirit saw 117 complaints overall with 20 about boarding issues and 56 over flight problems.
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