Air Travel Isn’t Fun, and It’s Getting Worse

The quality of U.S. air travel is worse than ever, according to a new report. But one airline is bucking the trend.

U.S. travelers were not happy with their flying experiences in 2014. Late flights, lost luggage and crappy customer service were just some of their gripes.

That’s according to the annual airline quality report from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Sadly, every measure used to evaluate the quality of air travel, including on-time performance, being bumped off a flight, baggage issues and customer complaints, got worse in 2014.

Dean Headley, a marketing professor at Wichita State University and one of the co-authors of the report, told The Associated Press that the report results likely come as no surprise to anyone who flies.

“We just got the numbers to prove it,” Headley said.

Here are some of the biggest issues from 2014:

  • Late flights: The percentage of on-time flights fell to 76.2 percent in 2014 from 78.4 percent in 2013.
  • Baggage issues: The number of lost bags jumped 13 percent from 2013.
  • Bumped passengers: The number of passengers involuntarily bumped off their flight rose 3 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Overall, the airline industry performed poorly in 2014. But there are a few airlines that improved their quality numbers.

Virgin America earned the best overall score among the airlines, securing the No. 1 spot for the third year in a row. The airline earned top marks for its rate of mishandled bags and bumped passengers.

Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue Airways also showed improvement from 2013 to 2014.

Here’s how the airlines ranked:

  1. Virgin America.
  2. Hawaiian Airlines.
  3. Delta Air Lines.
  4. JetBlue Airways.
  5. Alaska Airlines.
  6. Southwest Airlines.
  7. American Airlines.
  8. Frontier Airlines.
  9. United Airlines.
  10. SkyWest Airlines.
  11. ExpressJet Airlines.
  12. Envoy/American Eagle.

Airlines’ dismal performance in 2014 “does not send a positive message to consumers that see an industry enjoying positive economic times,” the report said.

Do you agree with the report’s findings? Tell us about your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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