A couple weeks ago we stumbled upon an airline ratings study put out by Embry-Riddle. It’s a very interesting study, in that it rates North American airlines on multiple dimensions – customer service, passenger satisfaction/happiness, as well as operational indicators like on-time arrivals etc. The other thing we like about this particular airline ratings study is that it came out of academia (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is one of the foremost aviation schools in the world) and not out of the airlines’ own marketing funds.
Airline Ratings Survey Methodology
Titled the “Airline Quality Rating 2015” (AQR), the intention of the study was to look across important combined multiple performance criteria in aviation, and come up with a rolled-up score for each airline in the airline ratings survey. AQR 2015 scores are based on 15 elements in four areas of airline performance factors important to air consumers in 2014. These areas consist of:
- On-time arrivals
- Involuntary denied boardings
- Mishandled baggage
- A combination of 12 customer complaint categories
Using the Airline Quality Rating system of weighted averages and monthly performance data, the areas of airlines’ comparative performance for the calendar year of 2014 is reported. 2015 is the 25th year Embry-Riddle has run this airline ratings survey.
Airline Ratings Participants
The airline ratings summary provide month-by-month quality ratings for all U.S. airlines that have at least 1% of domestic scheduled-service passenger revenue during 2014.
This year, the 12 qualifying airlines included:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lnes
- Envoy/American Eagle
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- SkyWest Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin America
Airline Ratings Overall
2014 brought a decline in the AQR score across all four performance areas tracked from a level of -1.07 in 2013 to -1.24 in 2014. This demonstrates a negative sign for air travel consumers, as this was the same AQR level report 5 years ago. The AQR criteria show that:
- On-time arrival % was worse (76.2% in 2014 compared to 78.4% in 2013).
- Mishandled baggage rate was worse, increasing from 3.21 per 1,000 passengers in 2013 to 3.62 per 1,000 passengers in 2014.
- Involuntary denied boardings per passenger served was worse – 0.92 per 10,000 passengers in 2014 from 0.89 per 10,000 passengers in 2013.
- Consumer complaint rate rose to 1.38 per 100,000 passengers
in 2014 from 1.13 per 100,000 passengers in 2013. Of the 11,364 complaints registered, 62.7% were for either flight problems,
customer service problems, or baggage problems.
Airline Ratings Results
Virgin America was the winner, followed by Hawaiian Airlines – both of which are steadily improving their AQR score year on year. However, airlines across the board received lower scores than in the previous few years – which means generally service in the industry is getting worse.
Airline Ratings Bottom Line
A few airlines standout from the crowd and are making gains year after year to better serve the customer. These include:
- Virgin American
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
However, most all airlines are doing worse in 2015 than in 2010 – which is a sign of general decline in an industry that is seeing record profit gains in recent years.
It’s kind of like being faster than the slowest runner in a bear chase. It’s no great prize to be the BEST of the WORST in airline customer service.
You can see the full report here: Airline Quality Rating 2015.
3 responses to “Airline Ratings”
[…] Calling all #avgeeks – US Airline ratings are out. Which airlines take the top marks? A couple weeks ago we stumbled upon an airline ratings study put out by Embry-Riddle. It’s a very interesting study, in that it rates North American airlines on multiple dimensions – customer service, passenger satisfaction/happiness, as well as operational indicators like on-time arrivals etc. The other thing we like about this particular airline ratings study is that it came out of academia and not out of the airlines’ own marketing funds. Find out the winner here. […]
[…] No surprise, Alaska Airlines. That matches up with what we wrote about earlier in 2015, when we rolled up passenger satisfaction and on-time performance from the Airline Quality Rating 2015 survey across airline travel […]
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