Virgin America was ranked the top performing airline for 2012, followed by JetBlue and AirTran Airways, according to the 23rd annual Airline Quality Rating of the nation’s 14 airlines.
Virgin America was new to this year’s rankings.
The three lowest-rating airlines for 2012 were SkWest, ExpressJet and United Airlines, which ranked last.
American Eagle Airlines improved the most, moving from 15th place in 2011 to 11th place in 2012.
The annual rankings are co-authored by Wichita State University associate professor of marketing Dean Headley and Purdue University professor Brent Bowen.
Airlines are rated on on-time performance, denied boardings, mishandled baggage and consumer complaints from data obtained from the Department of Transportation.
Performance by the airlines last year was the second highest in the 23 years of research compiled by Headley and Bowen.
“Passengers are experiencing better performance by the airlines, although it might cost more to fly,” the authors said in a statement.