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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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United, Continental, Delta and American Airlines have increased the number of bags U.S. soldiers can check in for free. Delta, United and Continental will allow soldiers to check in 4 bags, instead of 3, without being charged. Soldiers traveling on American Airlines are now allowed to check in 5 bags free.

In case you haven’t heard about it, soldiers on a Delta flight posted a YouTube videos Tuesday, criticizing the airline for charging $200 for each soldier who checked a 4th bag. One Army staff sergeant in the video said he was charged for a bag containing his M4 carbine rifle and other weaponry. The soldiers were heading to Atlanta from Baltimore. They had arrived in the US the previous day from Afghanistan.

Take a look at the video that sparked public outrage against the airlines. Tell us what you think, and check out Travel Channel’s tips to help you travel with ease.

Snowstorm Cripples the Midwest

A major storm of ice, snow and freezing rain has forced airlines to cancel more than 4,500 flights. The 2,100-mile stretch of wintery weather – from Texas to Maine – has halted airport traffic and closed airports, including Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport and Tulsa International Airport.

Airports in Newark, NJ, and Chicago are the hardest hit with more than 600 flight cancellations each, according to Flightware.com. Chicago is expected to get 2 feet of snow, breaking its snowfall record set in 1967. The Windy City is a hub for several major airlines, including United and American.

Windy weather with zero visibility had sparked Delta Airlines to cancel 625 flights today. JetBlue is canceling flights in and out of New York’s JFK airport for the rest of today with some flights expected to resume Wednesday afternoon. The airline plans to shut down its flights servicing Boston starting tonight. Officials at JetBlue say service may not may not be up and running until Thursday morning.

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