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Study Reveals Which Airline Has the Best Customer Service

U.S. South Hit By Crippling Winter Storm airline departures arrivals
Jessica McGowan, Getty Images

Customer service feels like a precious commodity in the airline business these days. However, some are trying better than others.

A recent report of the nation’s largest airlines’ customer performance records ranked airlines in the area of customer service. So, which airline took top honors?

AirTran snagged the number one spot for the second consecutive year.

The report compiled by Wichita State University, with data collected by the US Department of Transportation focusing on the country’s 15 larest airlines, examined areas such as missing luggage, flight delays and other general consumer complaints. AirTran, now under the Southwest Airlines Co.’s umbrella, earned the best rating by performing the best overall in each criteria, particularly among the lost luggage category.

The report also found that even though prices may be rising due to the cost of jet fuel, airline performance has shown a steady recovery from the slump it found itself in five years ago.

In 2007, a dramatic rise in customer demand for air travel almost crippled several of the major airlines and airports, contributing to a huge drop in customer service, complaints and satisfaction. Dan Headley, a business professor at Wichita State University, attributed the turnaround to some hard lessons that the airlines are finally starting to learn about the cost of flying and the promises they make to their customers.

The Highest-Rated Customer Service Among Airlines:

1. AirTran
2. Hawaiian
3. JetBlue
4. Frontier
5. Alaska
6. Delta
7. Southwest
8. U.S. Airways
9. SkyWest
10. American
11. Continental
12. United
13. Atlantic Southeast
14. Mesa
15. American Eagle

[Associated Press]

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