Consumer Reports Releases Best & Worst Airlines

6:24 PM, Jun 7, 2013   |    comments
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American Eagle, Getty Images

The peak travel season has begun, bringing with it crowded planes and higher fares. Consumer Reports released its latest airline ratings, based on input from more than 16,000 subscribers.

No-frills Spirit Airlines came in last in the ratings, hitting rock bottom on all of the customer benchmarks: seating comfort, cabin staff service, cleanliness and baggage handling.

United Airlines, US Airways and American did slightly better overall, but like Spirit, they got low scores for cleanliness and leg room.

In the ratings of 11 airlines, the highest overall score went to Virgin America, a separate company from Virgin Atlantic.

Southwest scored high in customer satisfaction, as did JetBlue. Both airlines charge relatively few fees, but jetblue did better for cleanliness and seating comfort.

Some airlines have responded to passengers' frustration over fees by "bundling" services together - for a fee, of course. A bundle might include preferred seating, free checked baggage, and free flight changes.

Consumer Reports says make sure you'll use all the benefits, otherwise paying à la carte fees might be cheaper.

2WTK took a closer look at the airlines that fly out of the Piedmont Triad Airport: Allegiant, American, American Eagle, Delta, Frontier, United,  US Airways.

The categories: ease of check-in,  cabin crew service, cabin cleanliness,  baggage handling, seating comfort and in-flight entertainment.

Allegiant Air was not part of the survey. Out of the five airlines that fly out of PTI in the survey, none ranked in the top five.

The one that finished sixth: Frontier Airlines. The company scored above average for their ease of check in, average for in-flight entertainment and below average for everything else.

As for our larger airlines: American, American Eagle, Delta, United and US Airways all scored poorly for both seating comfort and in-flight entertainment in the consumer reports survey.

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