This Is the Most Satisfying Airline for Coach Passengers

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air travel
Matej Kastelic /

When Consumer Reports polled more than 55,000 of its readers on various facets of their air travel experiences, one thing was clear: Folks who fly in coach prefer Southwest Airlines.

Out of 11 airlines included in the survey, Southwest was ranked No. 1 for overall satisfaction by passengers on economy flights.

The nonprofit CR explains:

“It earned high scores for staff service and ease of check-in, and cabin cleanliness. And it was the only airline to earn top marks for pricing transparency — this no-frills carrier clearly lists its fees and lets you check two bags for free.”

This is not to say you won’t feel cramped on a Southwest flight. CR notes that all economy flights included in its reader survey received low scores in the categories of seat comfort and legroom.

Overall, though, the other airlines ranked most highly for their economy/coach sections are:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Virgin America
  • Hawaiian Airlines

The airlines ranked lowest for their economy/coach sections include:

  • Frontier Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Allegiant Air

To view the full details of Consumer Reports’ current airline travel ratings, you’ll need a subscription to the publication.

If you’re more interested in learning how to nab the lowest price for your next flight, however, note that CR’s pointers all have one thing in common: To get a good deal, you must be flexible.

For example, this can mean being willing to travel on different dates, or even on a holiday. The publication explains:

“About 60 percent of passengers said the main reason for choosing their carrier was it had a flight that best fit their schedule. But if you have some leeway, check to see how ticket prices would change if you fly a day or two earlier or later, or if you leave early in the morning or late at night.”

We detail more tips like this in “14 Super Smart Ways to Save on Travel.”

So, what’s your favorite — or least favorite — air carrier for economy-class flights? Let us know why in a comment below or over on our Facebook page.

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