NEW YORK (CBS) – For the fourth-straight year, Alaska Airlines has been named America’s best overall carrier by The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper’s “Middle Seat” columnist Scott McCartney, who puts out an annual airline report card, says the industry is improving with fewer late flights, fewer complains and fewer lost bags. But some carriers clearly do better than others.

Delta Air Lines comes in right behind Alaska with high marks for on-time arrivals and the least amount of canceled flights.

The Airline Scorecard's overall ratings (Image credit CBS This Morning)

The Airline Scorecard’s overall ratings (Image credit CBS This Morning)

American found itself at the bottom of the scorecard for a second year in a row, and has the highest rates of lost luggage and canceled flights.

“We’ve got to run faster,” an American executive told The Wall Street Journal.

United was the most-improved carrier on the list, landing more flights on time and tying for fifth place overall with JetBlue.

Comments (2)
  1. Peter Dejohn says:

    How about ratings based on customer service.

  2. This kind of airline labelling should be taken with caution.

    On-time ranking depends on numerous factors and types of data used to measure them. It is not about credibility of data providers, but about origins of data used in their reports which are not made clear. As an example, different choice of reference schedules (defined differently by airlines, airports, and ATC) would result in different airline ranking related to on-time performance. As for the external data providers, they use their own internal processes to validate, normalize and apply changes to their databases. Their credibility depends on accuracy, scope, completeness and clarity of information they publish.

    There are no reports on how many people experienced disrupted travel and how much it have cost them in money and time.

    On European side, Association of European Airlines stopped publishing delay reports ten years ago due to problems with inconsistency of data reported by airlines. None of the current official data providers take responsibility for accuracy of delay information in their reports.

    For those interested, more on this subject could be found in my book ‘Beyond Airline Disruptions’.

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