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Best and Worst Airlines: According to Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is always where I go to find product ratings and best buy recommendations. So this month when Consumer Reports rated the best and worst airlines, I took notice.

Consumer reports rated eleven major carriers based on information from almost 17,000 subscribers. They analyzed ease of check-in, cabin/crew service, cabin cleanliness, baggage handling, seating comfort, and in-flight entertainment.

Virgin America made its debut at the top of the list while Spirit Airlines ranked the worst. One traveler said of Virgin America’s coach seats, “The leather seat cushions are so nice in coach, there’s no reason to fly first class.” Virgin American says it emphasizes “top-notch services and a host of innovative amenities.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Spirit Airlines received the lowest overall scores for any company rated by Consumer Reports. Their airfare costs may be 90% less than other carriers, but the airline charges a wide array of fees, including $3 for a soda, juice, or bag of M&Ms. Plus their carry-on fee can range from $35 to $100 per bag. Here are the readers’ scores in order:

  1. Virgin America – 89
  2. Southwest Airlines – 85
  3. JetBlue Airways – 85
  4. Hawaiian Airlines – 82
  5. Alaska Airlines – 81
  6. Frontier Airlines – 78
  7. Delta Airlines – 71
  8. US Airways – 66
  9. American Airlines – 66
  10. United Airlines – 63
  11. Spirit Airlines – 50

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