Virgin America came out on top in a new study that ranked more than a dozen major U.S. airlines based on customer gripes and on-time flights.
The airline, which was recently bought by Alaska Airlines for $2.6 billion, was the best to fly with in 2015 for the fourth year in a row, according to the annual Airline Quality Report published by two industry experts on Monday.
JetBlue took second place, followed by third-place finisher Delta in the list of 13 U.S. airlines based on an analysis of last year’s U.S. Department of Transportation data. Spirit Airlines came in last. The study also took into account figures for mishandled baggage and denied boardings.
Researchers found that the overall performance quality in the U.S. airline industry has improved slightly in the last year, but the rate of customer complaints spiked to its highest level in 15 years.
“These results clearly show that the air traveling public is not happy,” co-researcher Brent Bowen, dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said in a statement. “Passengers are reaching out and letting us know exactly that, based on the number of complaints filed with the Department of Transportation. The human element of air travel is obviously deteriorating, and passengers are fed up.”
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