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WATCH: Airline Quality Rating report author discusses state of air travel

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 7:48 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Across the U.S. people are getting back to traveling after an unusual year for the airline industry brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Carriers canceled hundreds of flights and saw some of their lowest volumes. With the release of the annual Airline Quality Rating, we’re getting an idea on the impact on passengers’ experiences.

The annual airline quality ratings came out Monday, May 3, produced in part by researchers at Wichita State University. The report shows Southwest Airlines moving into the top spot, followed by Allegiant, Delta, Alaska and Spirit Airlines. Following in the ranking of 10 major airlines is JetBlue at No. 6, American at No. 7, United at No. 8, Hawaiian at No. 9, and Frontier at No. 10.

You can read details of the report and the factors it considers in the ranking here: AQR Rankings and Observations.

“The Airline Quality Rating 2021 is a summary of month-by-month quality ratings for U.S. airlines that are required to report performance by virtue of having at least 0.05% of domestic scheduled-service passenger revenue during 2020,” an explanation from the researchers said. “Using the Airline Quality Rating system of weighted averages and monthly performance data in the areas of on-time arrivals, involuntary denied boardings, mishandled baggage, and a combination of 12 customer complaint categories, the AQR reports airlines’ comparative performance for the calendar year of 2020. This research monograph contains a summary of the AQR methodology and detailed data that track comparative performance quality for domestic airline operations for the 12-month period of 2020 and the industry.”

One of the researchers is Dr. Dean Headley, emeritus associate professor of marketing in the Department of Marketing at Wichita State University’s W. Frank Barton School of Business. On Monday, Dr. Headley sat down with Eyewitness News anchor and Right Now host Michael Schwanke to discuss the report’s findings and that state of air travel as passengers return from the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can see the full interview with Dr. Headley in the video above.

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