2019 Airline Rankings

The Airline Quality Rating (AQR) is the most comprehensive study of performance and quality of the largest airlines in the United States. The rating is a multifactor examination of the airlines based on mishandled baggage, consumer complaints, on-time performance and involuntary denied boardings. The Airline Quality Rating industry score for 2018 shows an industry that improved in overall performance quality over the previous year. Six airlines (Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, and United) showed improvement in AQR scores in 2018. Spirit Airlines had the largest improvement in their AQR score in 2018. Three airlines (Alaska, American, and Frontier) all had a decline in their 2018 AQR score from the previous year. Frontier Airlines had the largest decline in their AQR score for 2018. The overall industry AQR score improved for 2018. Taking all 9 rated airlines together, the AQR score for the industry improved from a level of -0.79 in 2017 to -0.66 in 2018. The 2018 score is the best AQR score in the 29-year history of the rating. The industry AQR score has improved each year for the past four years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). Improved performance was seen in three of the four areas tracked.
The industry mishandled baggage rate was better, decreasing from 2.46 per 1,000 passengers in 2017 to 2.43 per 1,000 passengers in 2018.
Involuntary denied boardings by the industry improved to 0.14 per 10,000 passengers in 2018 from 0.34 per 10,000 passengers in 2017.
The consumer complaint rate across the industry declined to 1.04 per 100,000 passengers in 2017 from 1.35 per 100,000 passengers in 2016.  Of the 8,865 complaints registered with the DOT regarding all U.S. domestic carriers, 72% were for flight problems, baggage problems, reservation, ticketing and boarding issues, or customer service problems. The 23% decrease in the rate of consumer complaints in 2018 suggests that improved performance in areas important to consumers has been noticed by the flying public.
As an industry, the AQR criteria show that on-time arrival percentage was down (80.2% in 2017 compared to 79.6% in 2018).