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Before you book your next flight, here’s a word of warning: You may not want to fly on Spirit Airlines. The carrier received the lowest overall scores of any company that Consumer Reports has ever rated.

Today, Consumer Reports released its results from a readers’ survey that ranks the best and worst airlines.

So why didn’t Spirit Airlines make the cut? Industry analysts say that although the no-frills airline charges less than other carriers, customers still take a hit in their pockets by paying other additional fees, including $10 to $19 to book a flight, $3 for a soda or M&Ms, and $35 to $100 per carry-on bag. Readers also claimed that the airline has some of the “tightest” seating space in the industry.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Virgin America topped the list for the first time, receiving some of the highest customer satisfaction scores that any airline has received in years.  According to the survey, flyers said they like the comfy, leather seat cushions in the airline’s economy class. Readers also gave the airline’s in-flight entertainment high marks.

Other carriers that fared well included Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines for check-in and cabin staff. American, United and US Airways received the lowest ratings possible for cabin cleanliness, seating comfort and onboard entertainment.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center surveyed more than 16,000 readers — who flew a combined 31,732 domestic flights — in February. Readers were asked to rate their satisfaction with the airlines’ check-in ease, cabin-crew service, cabin cleanliness, seating comfort, baggage handling and in-flight entertainment.

Here’s a quick look at the airlines and their overall score, based on a 0 to 100 scale:

1.   Virgin America, 89
2.   Southwest Airlines, 85
3.   JetBlue Airways, 85
4.   Hawaiian Airlines, 82
5.   Alaska Airlines, 81
6.   Frontier Airlines, 78
7.   Delta Air Lines, 71
8.   US Airways, 66
9.   American Airlines, 66
10. United Airlines, 63
11. Spirit Airlines, 50

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Airports, Trends

12 Responses

  1. Octavia says:

    UNITED IS THE BEST. I have always had a good experience with them.

    US AIRWAYS is the absolute WORST airlines that ever existed. I have had nothing but problems with the crew and the flight attendants. They are horrible people who seem to think that you owe them. You are basically held captive by their abuse when you fly with them. And when you land, they out right LIE about you! Luckily there are kind passengers who had my back and sided with me about the crew and the flight attendants.

  2. Dee says:

    Do not fly overseas on SAS economy class. Your vacation will be ruined after the traumatic experience. Poor service. Absolutely no leg room….my knees were jammed up against the seat in front of me! Then I lost all of my "personal" space with the joker in front of me lowered his seat all the way back. I was more than "miserable" the whole trip; and dreaded the return trip, which turned out to be more of the same "misery"…

  3. Deb P says:

    There is no worse experience than flying the AA flight from Raleigh Durham to London Heathrow economy class. AA have calculated the lowest level of customer service possible and work to achieve it. The disgusting menu has been the exact same for the 12 plus years I have been flying that route and the entertainment is a drop down screen from the cabin roof with a tinny sound system and scratchy images – when its working! My sister brought my 90 yr old mother through NYC rather than take the direct flight with AA! I feel sorry for the cabin crew because I sense they are embarrassd but can't say anything!

    • AA worst says:

      AA sucks. I just experienced a trip even worse. 3 hours trip was made into 24 hours, lost my carry on, no hotel, cost extra 100 on my own expense, very rude attitude and no sorry from no one. They suck. Never fly with them.

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Kwin MosbyKwin is Managing Producer of TravelChannel.com. His multimedia career has included working as a TV news reporter/producer and publications editor. What inspires Kwin to travel? It’s relaxing beach locations, vibrant...

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