Flying soon? One report can help you pick the right airline

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Planning a trip soon? One report co-authored by a local Wichita man can help.

The annual Airline Quality Rating Report will be released today. The report takes hard facts and turns them into a formula to compare each airline and determine which perform the best and which perform the worst.

Today’s announcement will be the 27th for Dr. Dean Headley, Wichita State professor and his co-author, Dr. Brent Bowen, with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The men decided to look at four factors that airlines are required to share with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those factors include on-time performance, mishandled baggage, involuntary denied boardings, or “bumpings,” and consumer complaints.

“We think that’s important for the flying public to be able to know the actual outcome,” Dr. Headley said. “Everybody has a perception of what they thought happened to them on their airline trip but this is what they get: how on time were they? How any bags did they mishandle? That kind of stuff.”

Not only does the report hold airlines to the fire but it can help consumers make more informed decisions when planning their next trip.

“Because we’re all wronged on an airline at one time or another and we’ve all had our bag lost and people have been a little bit less than pleasant to deal with but is that really the way the airline is or was that an isolated incident?” Headley said.

In 2016, the top airlines included:

1. Virgin America

2. JetBlue

3. Delta Air Lines

4. Hawaiian Airlines

5. Alaska Airlines

For anyone flying to and from Wichita, Dr. Headley explains Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport is in good shape, according to his findings.

In 2016, the average round trip airfare out of Wichita, including taxes, was $374, which is about 8 to 9 percent less than it was in 2015. To compare, Kansas City’s average fare in 2016 was $345. Tulsa’s was $407 and Oklahoma City’s was $411.

When you combine that information with good service and the addition of Alaska Airlines to Wichita’s options, it shows the city is in good shape when it comes to air travel.

“With the new airport and you know, decent airfare and the airlines competing well in the Wichita market, I think the Wichita traveler has a great place to travel from and to,” Dr. Headley said.

To learn more about the report and results from previous years, click here.

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