Alaska Airlines drops from 1st place to 4th place in list ranking airline quality

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - An online quality ranking, where Alaska Airlines once reigned at the top for multiple consecutive years, says the airline has been demoted to fourth place.

In the 2019 Airline Quality Ranking list made by AQR, Alaska fell from first to fourth, and Delta Airlines, which was in second place last year, is now at the top spot.

AQR says the rating is generated by multiple factors, including mishandled baggage, consumer complaints, on-time performance and involuntary denied boardings. 2019 marks the 29th year that AQR has compiled a list of top airlines.

This year's list was released last week, and ranked nine airlines in the below order:

1. Delta Airlines
2. JetBlue
3. Southwest Airlines
4. Alaska Airlines
5. Hawaiian Airlines
6. United Airlines
7. Spirit Airlines
8. American Airlines
9. Frontier Airlines

In a news release from AQR, co-author Brent Bowen said the list is an important tool for consumers to hold airlines accountable, and to give them a baseline for quality when flying.

"These results are very needed by the traveling public, given all the recent reports of airlines losing the confidence of key consumers," Bowen said.

As for Alaska Airlines' fall from grace, a high-profile aviation merger could have played a part. In 2018, Alaska merged with Virgin America, which was absent from the 2019 list.

In 2018, Virgin ranked in seventh place, but was absent from the list this year due to the merger with Alaska.

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