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These Are the Best (and Worst) Airlines of 2019

Reader's Digest Logo By Melissa Klurman of Reader's Digest | Slide 1 of 9: Editors at The Points Guy (TPG) have a multi-tiered approach to judging airlines. Here are their criteria:

 	Timeliness (15 percent of overall score) represented the biggest chunk of the score. Pouring over data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), TPG looked at what percentage of flights were delayed, how often flights were canceled (10 percent), and how many cities an airline served (10 percent). They also factored in how likely passengers were of getting bumped off a flight unwillingly (2 percent).
 	To reflect customer satisfaction, TPG looked at the number of passenger complaints against each airline filed with the DOT (10 percent of overall score) as well as the number of reports of lost luggage (5 percent) each airline had.
 	Another big factor in the final score was pricing. Consulting the airlines' financials, their own websites, DOT data, and the monthly TPG valuations, they looked at the average value for the customer and how hefty airlines' extra fees were (ticket value was 10 percent of overall score, and fees were another 10 percent). Experts also factored in the points valuations and the value of the perks that came with elite status (another 10 percent).
 	In terms of comfort (15 percent of overall score), TPG looked at average seat pitch and width in economy class; WiFi availability; whether there were seatback screens for in-flight entertainment and outlets at seats; and the average age of the domestic fleet. They also looked at how many regular lounges each airline had (3 percent) in the United States versus how many premium lounges and the cost of memberships and day passes there.

The survey: Methodology

Editors at The Points Guy (TPG) have a multi-tiered approach to judging airlines. Here are their criteria:
  • Timeliness (15 percent of overall score) represented the biggest chunk of the score. Pouring over data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), TPG looked at what percentage of flights were delayed, how often flights were canceled (10 percent), and how many cities an airline served (10 percent). They also factored in how likely passengers were of getting bumped off a flight unwillingly (2 percent).
  • To reflect customer satisfaction, TPG looked at the number of passenger complaints against each airline filed with the DOT (10 percent of overall score) as well as the number of reports of lost luggage (5 percent) each airline had.
  • Another big factor in the final score was pricing. Consulting the airlines' financials, their own websites, DOT data, and the monthly TPG valuations, they looked at the average value for the customer and how hefty airlines' extra fees were (ticket value was 10 percent of overall score, and fees were another 10 percent). Experts also factored in the points valuations and the value of the perks that came with elite status (another 10 percent).
  • In terms of comfort (15 percent of overall score), TPG looked at average seat pitch and width in economy class; WiFi availability; whether there were seatback screens for in-flight entertainment and outlets at seats; and the average age of the domestic fleet. They also looked at how many regular lounges each airline had (3 percent) in the United States versus how many premium lounges and the cost of memberships and day passes there.
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