Best and Worst Airlines

Published 06/04 2013 10:58AM

Updated 06/04 2013 12:01PM

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

And the list of complaints is long, indeed.

"I don't like the cramped seats."

"Not on time, rude, not good customer service."

"I do not like paying for luggage."

Fees for checked baggage and limited leg room are among the many gripes subscribers expressed in Consumer Reports' airlines ratings survey. The top complaints?

"A full third of survey respondents complained about crowded flights. And a quarter complained about cramped seats."

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

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

"There are airlines out there where you can have a more comfortable flying experience. They just may not fly everywhere you'd like to go."

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

Southwest scored high in customer satisfaction, too, as did JetBlue. Both airlines charge relatively few fees.

But JetBlue did better for cleanliness and seating comfort.

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