Virgin America was rated the top airline in the 2013 Airline Quality Rating report. The rating has been conducted annually since 1991 as a joint research project funded as part of faculty research activities at Purdue University and Wichita State University.
Of the four performance areas tracked (on-time performance, baggage handling, involuntary denied boardings and consumer complaints), declines were seen in two areas over the calendar year of 2012: involuntary denied boardings and consumer complaints.
The AQR ranked the 14 major airlines as follows:
The report summarizes month-by-month quality ratings for major domestic U.S. airlines operating during 2012. A major airline, as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is an airline whose operating revenue for a 12-month period is $1 billion or more. AQR scores for 2013 are based on 15 elements in four major areas that focus on airline performance aspects important to air travel consumers, including baggage handling, on-time arrivals, denied boardings and 12 elements of customer service.