The Wall Street Journal ranks Alaska Airlines No. 1 for fourth year in a row

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 painted with the airline's new tail logo and livery Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. This month, Alaska Airlines revealed the most substantial updates to its brand in a quarter century. Beginning Jan. 25, Alaska fliers will see the visual updates in new signage at the airport, an all-new airplane paint job, a refreshed website and mobile app, and more.

For the fourth year in a row, The Wall Street Journal ranked Alaska Airlines No. 1 among the nine largest U.S. carriers in its 2016 Airline Scorecard.

Aside from taking the overall top spot, Alaska was first in on-time arrivals and had the fewest extreme delays, fewest 2-hour tarmac delays and fewest complaints. Alaska took third in the canceled flights and involuntary bumping, and fourth in mishandled bags.

“This is a fantastic testament to the skill and dedication of our people,” said CEO Brad Tilden. “The rest of the leadership team and I want to thank all of you for the many things you’ve done across the board, including the particular focus on bags- to keep us No. 1 in our customers’ eyes.”

Data for the scorecard came from GEE Operations Solutions, FlightStats and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Alaska makes biggest improvement in mishandled bags category

Alaska was most improved in the category measuring mishandled bags, coming in fourth in 2016, while Virgin America took the top spot.

In the 2015 WSJ scorecard, Alaska ranked second to last for its rate of mishandled bags. Wanting to improve the score, the company created a baggage team to help decrease the number of mishandled bags. The goal was to centralize the baggage claim process and give employees the tools they need to provide customers with a hassle-free travel experience. As part of this effort, Alaska began barcode scanning every bag before they were loaded on the planes.

Team members also developed the iBagTracker, an app that alerts customer service agents when there was an irregularity with a customer’s bag. Thanks to the cross-divisional efforts from baggage performance staff.

“The team developed new employee-friendly, customer-focused technology, increased accountability through new reports and tools and re-trained local station personnel to resolve customer issues immediately,” said Cees Verkerk, managing director of customer service, station operations.

In the past year, Alaska has decreased the number of baggage claims by 38 percent and reduced the number of delayed bags by 40 percent.

Virgin America ranks No. 3 overall

This year Virgin America ranked No. 3 overall and first in mishandled bags, and second in canceled flights and involuntary bumping.

Alaska’s integration with Virgin America

When it comes to its Alaska’s acquisition of Virgin America, Alaska is taking steps to ensure this is the best airline integration in history.

At the moment, Alaska is working to achieve a single operating certificate (SOC) with Virgin America by January 2018. Achieving one operating certificate will also include moving to a single passenger service system and one loyalty program.

Decisions about the future of the Virgin America, including the Virgin America brand and the airline’s Airbus fleet, haven’t been made at this time.


  1. I fly on Alaska most of the time and l always have a good experience.

  2. Alaska Airlines rocks! Have been flying with them for years and I have only had one bad experience but Alaska always makes it right! Rock on ASAA and all your awesome employees! You guys deserve the ranking and the credit!

  3. Congratulations Alaska. Consistently on time, excellent employees that give great service & proud to be a Mileage Plan member.

  4. Of course AK takes the top of the leader board, for this is what they always display as their driving point …#1 customer care!! They know that 10 min makes a world of difference in the amount of time it takes to board for on time departures, and the in flight crews are far & above their competitors in consistent delivery of top notch services.

  5. It has been four years since I have flown from Alaska from Seattle To Ontario Ca in company of two large Australian Shepherds Myself and the dogs were treated very nicely at both ends of trip. I try to fly Alaska whenever possible. Thank you

  6. I love Alaska Airline.

  7. If you have flown Alaska and then others, it’s so clearly obvious that they are much better in so many ways.

  8. A well deserved rating. And your new acquisition, Virgin Airlines, is up there with you. I’m looking forward to an even better booking and flight experience.

    If I can use this opportunity to put in one request, it would be to ask you to offer your Canadian Alaska Airlines MBNA MasterCard customers the same benefit enjoyed by your American Visa customers, namely free checked bags. It’s time to treat us the same.

  9. I like Alaska Air but they seem to be crammimg coach customers into less and less space. And their SFO agents need training. Passengers with luggage carts who seem to be international are given check-in priority. Folks who were waiting in the MVP and regular lines were getting steamed as these sanctioned cutters were given priority. Only 2 agents handling check-in at 1PM on Wednesday and if a needing assistance large family showed up, they were given priority. I will choose a different airline to fly to SFO in the future.

  10. Way to go Alaska Airlines!!

  11. A suggestion. I like the Airbus 320 that Virgin America uses. The seats are wider, the interior is much nicer looking including the LED lighting themes. The music is snappier, they have a better IFE. The Boeing 737-900ER, 737-800’s have the “Dreamliner” overhead storage that is superior to the Airbus A320. I have not flown the Airbus Sharklet equipped Virgin America planes so they may offer a similar overhead storage product. Boeing is a fine product but I much prefer Airbus. Wider interior than a Boeing. Space is everything. No boxes underneath the middle seats on the Virgin Airbus. Not so on the Boeing. Love the Racaro seats on the Boeing. The seats on the Virgin America were good right out of the gate!!! Happy that Alaska purchased Virgin America as you can tailor your routes to better fill the Virgin America planes. Your load factors were better at Alaska Airlines than Virgin America. Otherwise, very happy with both products. The only downside I can see is that you are an ALL BOEING FLEET and Airbus would negate that expression. Also, you would have to continue to contract MO to the existing MO providers. Do not know how much maintenance you do in house but that might affect your bottom line with Airbus. Light years ahead of any of the legacy carriers to this present day! A very happy customer with Alaska Airlines. Glad you have struck gold on this purchase and congrats to all of your family associates that make this happen on a daily basis.

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