Consumer Reports Awards Southwest Airlines Top Honors

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Consumer Report Best Airlines

Associated Press

Southwest Airlines earned top honors in Consumer Reports' list of airline ratings, which also named poor seating comfort and added fees as travelers' major gripes.

The rankings, released Tuesday, were based on a survey of nearly 15,000 readers. In the survey, readers reported their experiences on 29,720 domestic, round-trip flights over a year.

Respondents rated each leg of their trips on the following criteria: Check-in ease, cabin crew service, cabin cleanliness, baggage handling, seating comfort, and in-flight entertainment. Among the results:

-- Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways ranked first and second in customer satisfaction.

-- Southwest ranked best in check-in ease and cabin-crew service, but earned low marks for in-flight entertainment. Only JetBlue got a positive in-flight entertainment grade.

-- JetBlue was also the only airline to receive positive marks in each of the above categories.

-- 93 percent of Southwest passengers were charged no fees at check-in. More than half of American, Delta, JetBlue and Continental passengers also paid no fees. Comparatively, more than 40 percent of US Airways, Alaska, Frontier and AirTran passengers paid one fee.

-- US Airways, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and American Airlines all received mediocre to negative grades in each of the above categories.

For the full article and results, visit Consumer Reports.

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