Comedian Louis CK does a hysterical – and thought-provoking – monologue mocking people who complain about every little aspect of flying. We get so angry about a 40-minute delay, he notes, that we forget that we were then whisked safely through the clouds across the country while sitting in a chair, “like something out of a Greek myth.”
He’s right, of course. But still… Flying has truly become a grind these days, with crowded flights, high ticket prices, all sorts of fees, and frequent delays and cancellations. So, yes, we will continue to whine and look to minimize our pain. One way to make air travel easier is to stick with those airlines that score well in customer service. Here are the Top 5, according to AirlineQualityRating.com.
Virgin America. The staff is always friendly, and the cabin décor truly an experience — every bit as cool as you would expect from a guy like Virgin founder Richard Branson. Coach amenities include leather seats, wi-fi, personal outlets, on-demand entertainment and such premium snacks as veggie chips.
Virgin is currently being acquired by Alaska Airlines, which is also top-rated for customer service.
JetBlue. The low-fare airline provides the most coach-class legroom of any airline, and offers free brand-name snacks (Cheez-Its, Terra Blues). More significantly, the airline’s Customer Bill of Rights provides refunds from $25 to $200 if your flight is delayed 90 minutes or more. This policy was JetBlue’s response to those horrible 2007 snow delays in which some JetBlue passengers were trapped on New York City runways for eight or more hours.
Delta. This ranking is based largely on Delta’s excellent 2015 on-time performance of 85.9% and low bag-loss rate of just two out of 1,000. Otherwise, the Delta experience is pretty average.
Hawaiian. The staff, as you might expect, is friendly and easy-going. But that doesn’t affect their professionalism. Hawaiian’s 88.5% on-time departure percentage is the highest of any major airline and the food is highly rated. The airline also has a cool system that allows you to bid for available first class upgrades. Willing to pay $3 or $5 or $10 to upgrade? Give it a shot. You never know, right?
Alaska. The airline receives a minuscule five customer complaints for every million passengers it carries. No surprise then, Alaska has earned J.D. Powers’ top customer satisfaction award for nine straight years. The reason: Alaska just treats people well – offering best fare guarantees, flexibility in the first 24 hours after booking, and decent treatment during lengthy delays.
Don’t see your go-to carrier on the list? Here’s the rest of AirlineQualityRating.com’s Top 10.