This is the worst airline of 2019, according to the rankings

AQR took four key factors into account, namely: mishandled baggage, customer complaints, on-time performance and involuntary denied boardings.

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Got a trip coming up? Double check which airline you selected because on Monday researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,  released their 29th annual Airline Quality Ranking to the public.

In order to provide a comprehensively objective ranking as possible, AQR took four key factors into account, namely: mishandled baggage, customer complaints, on-time performance and involuntary denied boardings. “These results are very needed by the traveling public, given all the recent reports of airlines losing the confidence of key consumers,”  says the studies co-author, Brent Bowen, a professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott campus.


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The data suggests vast improvements from all airlines across the board, more specifically, the new study reports the least incidents of bumped passengers, the lowest rate of mishandled baggage, and the lowest rate of customer complaints since the inception of The Annual  Airline Quality Ranking all the way back in 1991.  On this Bowen optimistically adds the following, “Travelers can be confident that our airlines are improving.”

Top flight

Delta Airlines ascended from the number two spot it took last year to number one in the 2019 ranking- a spot previously held by Alaska Airlines. According to the authors that surveyed the numbers, Delta was the only US airline that improved in all four categories mentioned above.

Alaska Airlines, which fell to number four this year might have the Alaska-Virgin America merger that took place March of last year to blame, considering the AQR ranking took the performance of both for the entire year into account. JetBlue was awarded the number two spot this year.

Frontier was given the last spot on AQR’s 29th annual list and The Point Guy’s third annual list (Delta was also ranked first on both lists).  The full AQR ranking is as follows:

The top 10 airlines for 2019

1. Delta

2. JetBlue

3. Southwest Airlines

4. Alaska Airlines

5.Hawaiian Airlines

6.United Airlines

7. Spirit Airlines

8. American Airlines

9. Frontier


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.