The 2020 ranking of the best and worst U.S. airlines by the Wall Street Journal has gone viral, but it fails to consider the important data point of damage to wheelchairs and scooters.
These were the factors considered by the WSJ in their ranking:
- On-time Arrivals
- Canceled Flights
- Extreme Delays
- 2-Hour Tarmac Delays
- Mishandled Baggage
- Involuntary Bumping
- Passenger Complaints
Disabled travelers do care about all of these measurements of airline quality, but we are especially concerned about the treatment of our mobility equipment. When airlines mishandle a passenger’s wheelchair, it can have a profound impact on that person’s ability to travel, live and work.
I decided to recalculate the WSJ rankings by including statistics on mishandled wheelchairs for the period of June 2019 to November 2019 (the most recent data available). I selected June as the start date because it was the first month that all airlines met the DOT’s reporting requirements.
These are the revised rankings:
After including the percentage of wheelchairs that are mishandled in the calculation, there were some changes in the order of the overall ranking. Allegiant and United Airlines both moved up a spot, while Frontier and Southwest both dropped one spot.
Hawaiian Airlines was excluded from the Wall Street Journal’s rankings due to its relatively small operation, and I have done the same here. Hawaiian mishandled 1.71% of wheelchairs and scooters for the selected period.
Delta Air Lines retained its position at the top of the order, and American Airlines remains the worst airline in the United States according to this ranking — for all travelers, disabled or not.