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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, April 10, 2014

Discount Airlines Top the 2014 Airline Quality Rating

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Discount airlines trounced the full-fare airlines in the 2014 Airline Quality Rating (AQR), an authoritative tally of who offers the best customer service and lowest fares done annually by Wichita State University and Purdue University.

It's often been said that you get what you pay for. But the exact opposite is true among airlines.

Virgin America is at the top of the heap. I've never flown them, but I've heard great things from those who have. They offer very decent fares and a special something about the caliber of quality and service. They're supposed to be the first U.S. airline to be on par with the great Asian airlines.

Here's a brief rundown of other top spots in the 2014 AQR:

No. 2 is JetBlue
No. 3 is Hawaiian Air
No. 4 is Delta

So you have a heavy presence of discounters like Virgin, JetBlue, and AirTran at the top of the list. And who ranks toward the bottom of the tally? Many of the big full-fare airlines. That's been consistent year after year in the AQR. The absolute lowest ranking goes to United Airlines.

If you ask me who has best fares and the overall best experience, again and again it's going to be the low-cost airlines.

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