2018 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 2017 shows an industry that improved in overall performance quality over the previous year. Nine airlines (American, ExpressJet, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, SkyWest, Southwest, Spirit and United) showed improvement in AQR scores in 2017. Frontier had the largest improvement in their AQR score in 2017.  Three airlines (Alaska, Delta and Virgin America) all had a decline in their 2017 AQR score from the previous year.  Virgin America had the largest decline in AQR score for 2017.

The overall industry AQR score improved for 2017. Taking all 12 rated airlines together, the AQR score for the industry improved from a level of -0.95 in 2016 to -0.79 in 2017. The 2017 score is the best AQR score in the 27 year history of the rating. The industry AQR score has improved each year for the past three years (2015, 2016, 2017). Improved performance was seen in three of the four areas tracked.

The industry mishandled baggage rate was better, decreasing from 2.70 per 1,000 passengers in 2016 to 2.46 per 1,000 passengers in 2017.

Involuntary denied boardings by the industry improved to 0.34 per 10,000 passengers in 2017 from 0.62 per 10,000 passengers in 2016.

The consumer complaint rate across the industry declined to 1.35 per 100,000 passengers in 2017 from 1.52 per 100,000 passengers in 2016.  Of the 11,570 complaints registered with the DOT regarding all U.S. domestic carriers, 74% were for flight problems, baggage problems, reservation, ticketing and boarding issues, or customer service problems. The 10% decrease in the rate of consumer complaints in 2017 suggests that improved performance in important areas to consumers has been noticed.

As an industry, the AQR criteria show that on-time arrival percentage was down (80.2% in 2017 compared to 81.4% in 2016).