News and notes from Hartsfield-Jackson, the world's busiest airport

Delta ranks No. 2 in airline ranking for 2016 performance

As Delta Air Lines emerges from thousands of flight cancellations over five days following a thunderstorm, its 2016 performance gained it a No. 2 ranking in a new airline study released Monday.

The Airline Quality Rating put Delta in second place behind Alaska Airlines in the lead position.

Atlanta-based Delta inched up one place from a year ago in the ranking by researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Ariz campus. The ranking weighs federal data on baggage handling, customer complaints, denied boardings and on-time arrivals.

Overall, the airline industry had a record score due to improved performance on involuntary denied boardings and baggage handling, according to researchers.

But, passengers are "still complaining about the same things" -- delays, cancellations and other flight problems, said Wichita State University associate professor of marketing Dean Headley. "That disturbs me."

No. 3 in ranking is Virgin America, which fell from the No. 1 spot a year earlier and is merging with Alaska Airlines.

JetBlue, which recently launched service to Atlanta, came in fourth. Hawaiian Airlines came in fifth.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, the second-largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson, came in sixth.

At the bottom of the ranking in the No. 11 and No. 12 spots are ultra low-cost carriers Spirit and Frontier.


Hundreds of stranded bags left at Hartsfield-Jackson in aftermath of Delta flight cancellations 

Delta flight cancellations continued Friday: “It was like a madhouse”

Delta executive apologizes after airline cancels another 500 flights

Here’s why one day of thunderstorms turned into a five-day Delta meltdown

Airline Quality Rating ranking based on 2016 performance

  1. Alaska
  2. Delta
  3. Virgin America
  4. JetBlue
  5. Hawaiian
  6. Southwest
  7. SkyWest
  8. United
  9. American
  10. ExpressJet
  11. Spirit
  12. Frontier

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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.