Is This the Only Best/Worst List of Airlines You'll Ever Need? Maybe.

Yes, another list of best and worst airlines – but if any of these ratings are worth paying attention to, this one is. It’s from Consumer Reports, the independent non-profit experts who’ve been helping shoppers sort out good products from bad – from vacuum cleaners to cars – since 1936. And they like Virgin America.

Air travel scams, rip-offs and rackets

Virgin America Ranks Number One

Or rather, the flyers they surveyed like Virgin America. As always, Consumer Reports doesn’t do things by half. They polled more than 16,000 travelers who took nearly 32,000 flights in February of this year and the overall consensus was Virgin America is number one.

Virgin America – they’re hip, they’re funny

The Northern California-based airline got high marks in every category including baggage handling, in-flight entertainment, onboard service and much more but what passengers really liked was, well, just flying with them. As one Virgin America fan told Consumer Reports the leather seats in coach are so nice, “There’s no reason to fly first class.”

Runners-Up – JetBlue and Southwest

JetBlue and Southwest also did very well in the Consumer Reports survey, no doubt partly because each one gives travelers at least one free checked-bag. JetBlue was singled out for its legroom, seatback entertainment systems and even the cleanliness of its planes, while Southwest scored especially high when it came its staff’s onboard service.

Spirit Airlines – Dead Last

The airline ranked lowest was self-styled ultra discounter Spirit Airlines. In fact, Consumer Reports made a point of noting that the Florida-based carrier “received one of the lowest overall scores for any company we’ve ever rated.”

Spirit – crazy little airline that breaks all the rules

Spirit CEO – Delusional?

Our friends at Consumerist posted an amusing article on Spirit’s reaction to its dismal showing, which pretty much consisted of Ben Baldanza touting his airline’s low prices over and over – although at one point he said with a straight face, “We have great customer service.” The headline of this Consumerist story? “Spirit CEO Still Delusional”.

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Published: May 24, 2013