Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's your favorite airline?

Here's a recent AP article about a survey on airline performance, focusing particularly on two important issues to travelers: lost bags on delays.

I probably fly 5-10 times a year. (Yes, this can be tough on a rookie reporter's salary, but we make sacrifices sometimes.) I've been pretty lucky lately and haven't had any of my bags that have been checked through to Shreveport end up in Detroit. (Really happened a few years back.)

Something interesting about the survey results from 2006 is that a lot of the airlines that fared well are the ones with a little personality. Southwest Airlines, whose playful staff often sing "Happy Birthday" and tell jokes on the PA system to passengers, had the fewest complaints.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time performance and fewest bag-handling issues. (Plus they serve those awesome, island fruit juices, and heck, you're probably going to Hawai'i when you're flying with them.) Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which operates flights for Delta (and is the first airline mentioned in this blog that actually flies to Shreveport), was listed as the worst in both of those categories.

But the survey makes me wonder if the fun airlines are better or if they're just so good they make you forget the irritating stuff. I recently flew on Alaska Airlines from Spokane, Wash., to Portland, Ore. I was sitting right by a prop that was really making my seat shake, but they offered a free, Oregon-brewed beer (of which I got at least two plastic cups full) and I sort of didn't mind. It was tasty, but unfortunately I can't remember what kind it was. I found this Portland Beer Blog, and it might come from one of the breweries these seemingly fine folks write about.

Any thoughts from fliers out there?

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