Flying can be one of the most unpleasant experiences in life. Even if passengers' eardrums aren't bombarded by crying babies or some woman singing Whitney Houston songs, the prices, accommodations, and service can often leave a lot to be desired.
This week, Consumer Reports has shed some light on the variations of the flying experience that can be found on different airlines. The publication has ranked U.S. airlines from best to worst in its latest issue of Consumer Reports magazine. The rankings are based on a survey of 16,000 people conducted in February. The survey included questions about comfort, baggage handling, check-in service, fees, and in-flight entertainment.
The top-ranked airlines will come as no surprise for frequent flyers. Virgin America topped the list due to its leather seat cushions and free bag checking. Jet Blue and SouthWest also placed highly for their baggage handling and service, though Jet Blue scored higher than SouthWest for cleanliness and comfort.
On the other side of the list, Spirit Airlines scored what Consumer Reports says is one of the lowest overall scores it has ever given. Though Spirit charges much lower airfare than almost any other airline, the company makes up for its low ticket prices by charging flyers for nearly everything they can. This includes fees for flight booking, carry-on bags, checked bags, in-flight snacks, and having a ticket agent print a boarding pass,