Just how does one rank the best of the best? The Airline Quality Rating (AQR)
is known to be the most comprehensive study of performance and quality of the largest airlines in the United States. This year’s report also showed the lowest rate of bumped passengers, the lowest rate of mishandled baggage and the lowest rate of customer complaints for the industry since the study began in 1991.
In 2020, a surprise player has emerged as the number one airline in America: Allegiant
, which topped the Airline Quality Rating list in 2020. In last year’s Airline Quality Rating list
, Allegiant wasn’t even on the list. Allegiant Air is an American low-cost airline that operates scheduled and charter flights. Delta Air Lines, the winner on Airline Quality Rating’s 2019 list, fell to number four. Another big change was Hawaiian Airlines, which has jumped three spots to number two. Coming up last on the 2020 list is American Airlines, which also happens to have the industry’s highest debt ($34 billion).The 2020 Top 10 List:
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Alaska Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
Besides ranking the airlines, Airline Quality Rating also tracks airline industry trends, and showed that numbers dropped in all four of the major areas.
“Lack of improvement in industry performance in all four areas tracked in the ratings is not a positive sign for consumers,” noted the authors of the report.
According to the study, the industry-wide mishandled baggage rate is higher, jumping from 2.43 per 1,000 passengers in 2018 to 5.57 per 1,000 checked bags in 2019. Involuntary denied boardings also increased from 0.14 per 10,000 passengers in 2018 to 0.19 per 10,000 passengers in 2019. The consumer complaint rate increased from 1.04 per 100,000 passengers in 2018 to 1.06 per 100,000 passengers in 2019. On-time arrival for the airlines was down slightly: 79.4% in 2019 compared to 79.6% in 2018).