United, American Score Low Quality Ratings

United and American Airlines have some work to do, at least according to the latest airline quality ratings.

Alaska and Delta Airlines finished one and two for the second year in a row when it comes to on-time performance, bumped passengers, mishandled bags and customer complaints.

JetBlue, Hawaiian and Southwest Airlines rounded out the top five.  According to researchers at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Witchita State University, United and American were 8th and 9th respectively.

“Overall, we think there has been some improvement in the bumping rate, but seat space and answering you telephones for customer service, we think it has gotten considerably worse,” says Paul Hudson at FlyersRights.org.

And he says the ratings are somewhat skewed to begin with.

“If you're only flying from Hawaii to the West Coast or only flying from Alaska to the continental U.S., there's not a lot of traffic over those routes, so those statistics are going to look better than an airline that flies a lot out of New York City.”

Express Jet, Frontier and Spirit were at the bottom of this year's list.  Hudson says Spirit's dead last ranking was due in large part to its a la carte fees and so-called "baggage police."

“They will be looking to see if anyone has a bag that's larger than what they claim is their minimum, and then pull people out of line and tell them they have to pay an extra $100.”

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