The airline industry has had its share of woes, not least among them being a high rate of dissatisfaction among customers. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the average rating of 65 out of a possible 100 is 1.5 percentage points lower than 2010 and 10 points below 1994 ratings, when the survey was started. And because most airlines have cut back on the number of planes they fly, sudden increases in travel can cause a wider margin of error, resulting in more complaints from travelers.
So if you must fly for pleasure or business, consider these highlights provided by SmartMoney.
- For cheapest airfare, Frontier wins, and its ancillary revenue, 3.7 percent of total profits, is the lowest in the industry. This airline charges no more than $50 for ticket change fees, about $75 for pets, and $50 for unaccompanied minors.
- For timely flights, Hawaiian is at the top with a rate of 92.5 percent of flights arriving on time.
- If you’re traveling with luggage, Southwest is the only U.S. airline that allows travelers to check two bags for free.
- For best comfortability, check out JetBlue, whose seat pitch of at least 32″ (and often, 34″) affords more leg room. JetBlue does not skimp on the in-flight entertainment; each passenger enjoys a personal TV in the seatback in front of them, and some flights offer WiFi. Unlimited snacks and nonalcoholic drinks are provided at no charge.
- And what about rewards booking? Southwest beats all with 99.3 percent of reward-booking requests available.