Report: American Airlines Ranks Last in Airline Customer Service

A new airline customer service satisfaction ranking for 2011 puts American Airlines dead last on a list of overall customer service among major carriers. It also ranked last for baggage handling and canceled flights.

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American also ranked poorly in excessive delays, though it was ahead of JetBlue (which may have more to do with the fact that its big hubs – New York and Boston – are in the blizzard-prone Northeast).

Somewhat surprisingly, Southwest came in second worst in terms of baggage handling. As Wall Street Journal columnist Scott McCartney wrote, “Bags fly free, but they don’t always get there.”

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The rankings looked at such measurements from the Department of Transportation that included on-time arrival statistics, length of delays, canceled flights and more.

Best airline in terms of overall stats was Alaska and Delta came in a surprising second place.

Best and Worst Airlines

Here are is the list of best to worst based on overall scores:

  1. Alaska
  2. Delta
  3. Southwest
  4. US Airways
  5. United
  6. American

Note that information on AirTran was combined with Southwest, and the data for Continental was including with United in recognition of the recent acquisition of the former and the merger of the latter.

Wins for Southwest and JetBlue

JetBlue exceled in baggage handling and was tops in not bumping passengers. The category of fewest customer complaints was won by Southwest, which may go to show that a ‘mishandled’ bag is trumped by a free bag.


Published: January 5, 2012