The Winners And Losers of the Zagat 2009 Airline Survey
The newest Zagat Guide on airlines is up. 5,900 fliers averaging 17 flights per year were polled about 16 domestic and 66 foreign airlines. After all the results were tallied the major US winners - rated on comfort, service, and food - turned out to be Virgin America and low cost carrier Midwest Airlines. If you're just flying coach your best bet is apparently JetBlue, which tallied up 19 out of 30 points. And if your top concern for some reason is your luggage, Southwest should be your airline of choice. Full results are posted at the Zagat site.
In contrast to when we covered this survey two years ago, travelers also found room for some grudging compliments: "consumers feel some marginal improvement in comfort and service." That's actually fair given how airlines have been consistently improving at last their outward numbers. We never tire of telling you that civilian aviation is the safest it's ever been, while September had the highest on-time rate since 2003.
Both of those are useful reminders that - no matter how often we upbraid the airlines for wasting money on moronic projects and then dishonestly passing the costs on to customerssome very smart people work in the airline industry. There are reasons to be optimistic. Those reasons are few and far between, and they'll probably end up getting suffocated by hidden fees, but they're there.
That said, the new survey was less than kind to major American airlines. Delta and American Airlines both scored poorly across the board, reminding everyone about oneworld and SkyTeam's ongoing and frantic race to the bottom. It was a UK airline, Virgin Atlantic, that got cited for the best frequent flier program. It was their Yankee cousin Virgin America that won for best domestic coach food. Apparently American and Delta's customer service cutbacks got noticed by customers. No kidding.
[Photo: George Grantham Bain collection / Wiki Commons]
· Zagat Airline Survey [Official Site]
· Zagat Guides For Travel [Jaunted]
· Midwest Airlines Coverage [Jaunted]