Alaska Airlines no longer nation’s No. 1 carrier

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Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines no longer nation’s No. 1 carrier.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has been displaced from its two-year reign as the best air carrier in the United States.

The Airline Quality Ranking (AQR) report is a joint faculty research project produced by Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University which is published annually.

On Monday, the AQR for 2019 was released and revealed that Alaska had slipped from the top spot down to second place in a reversal of fortunes with Delta Airlines, who placed second in 2018 but took over the No. 1 rank this year. JetBlue and Southwest Airlines rounded out the report’s top four carriers.

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Rankings in the AQR are established by a variety of factors such as schedule performance, boarding issues, luggage mishaps, and customer complaints.

The project has been collecting data on airline performance and releasing it in the AQR for 30 years and boasts of being the most comprehensive study of its kind in the U.S.

“These results are very needed by the traveling public, given all the recent reports of airlines losing the confidence of key consumers,” said AQR co-author and professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Brent Bowen in a news release.

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Alaska’s decline in rank is clearly outlined by the numbers revealed in the AQR report and were linked to a lowered performance in multiple categories of the study, including denied boardings, flight delays, and mishandled baggage.

Alaska’s merger with Virgin America in 2018 also meant that the AQR reflected a merger of both carrier’s performance statistics. Virgin placed seventh in the report last year.

In spite of Alaska’s fall from the AQR’s top spot, the airline still outranked over 80 percent of the remaining carriers who are ranked in the annual study.

Alaska Airlines is the lone passenger airline company serving the Wenatchee Valley’s Pangborn Memorial Airport.

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