Rating US airlines

As a regular flier, I like to rate who I fly with. I am not alone. Over 16,000 readers of Consumer Reports magazine reviewed 31,732 US domestic flights in February, 2013 for the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

The carriers were rated by the readers on six dimensions:

1. Ease of check-in
2. Friendliness and responsiveness of cabin crew
3. Cabin cleanliness
4. Baggage handling
5. Seating comfort
6. In-flight entertainment

The results were not a huge surprise as to where the eleven US carriers ranked. The ranking was very close to my own assessments for 2012. My ordering was slightly different. For example, I put JetBlue as my number one rated US airline last year, although I dearly love Virgin America too.
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I am interested that the airlines’ booking systems were not rated. Thats an important consideration for me as is on-board catering. This is of course, almost non existent in the US but I still like to have some sense of how good the food is that the carrier is selling.

Related Posts

Ten Worst Airlines- 2012

My Top Airlines for 2012



  1. How is ease of check-in even relevant?

    I mean most airlines have a web site and you check-in online..done. Unless you are talking about lines for luggage check-in or the automated kiosk availability.

    Southwest because of its free luggage usually has terrible lines vs American and so by that token I would rate American higher for its “best features”.

  2. Stacy, I am assuming Consumer Reports Magazine is referring to that aspect of check in. I myself never check luggage in!

  3. This rating is purely on the flight experience, and entirely discounting important factors like route network , fleet age, elite status, and loyalty program

    When factoring in those, southwest ranks low for me for their paltry service into nyc, VX ranks low for their revenue based mileage program, delta ranks low for how hard to redeem their miles, and AA ranks low for having a large fleet of MD80s etc

  4. To me JetBlue and virgin America are pretty much on the same tier, though what, in your opinion, made JetBlue top your list?

  5. It’s a narrow difference. I have found JetBlue to be slightly more customer focused -plus their route network is much more helpful than Virgin America’s.

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