Airline Rating Websites: What exactly is an Airline Rating Organization?

Every time new airline rating websites come out with annual reports the media loves to present the findings of the new ratings with a hurrah. But, what exactly are airline rating websites? How do they come up with their verdicts?

Every airline rating website has its own rating system

As a result,

Each organization’s airline ratings can largely differ, even in the same rating-category!

Each and every one of the airline rating websites are doing their best to self-proclaim that they are the best airline rating website out there.

Wall Street Journal’s Best and Worst U.S. Airlines verdict. YouTube/WSJ.

Airline rating websites and their Brand Authority Recognition wars

The accuracy of information from the “alphabet soup” of different airline rating websites, and which airline rating organization you can pay attention to is a contention of ongoing discussions among many frequent flyers.

How can ONE category of airline rankings, for example, “best airline” be as different as day versus night from one airline ranking website to another?

Tip: Because of the huge varieties of personal editor-opinions and data that the information has been derived from, take the verdict of every airline rating website with a grain of salt!

Airline rating websites are a mixed bowl of opinions, data, and verdicts

No uniformity or communication or cooperation exists between the airline rating companies.

However, airline ratings are not accurate science. Every organization determines its ratings differently.

Organizations may have identical titles to a rating list, such as “Best Airlines”. The problem with that is, each one of the organizations will have completely different airlines named on that same topic-list!

…As if that alone is not enough to confuse the flying public, each major airline is doing its part to market its best service through passenger incentives, such as rewards programs.

How airline rating websites determine rankings

Different (human) analysts, different computer-fed data, and passenger reviews are factors fed into airline ranking determinations.

In other words, the airline rating verdicts are largely based on website-operator human evaluation based on the data they choose to feed into the determination of which airline is ranked in what position.

WHO are the airline rating websites and organizations?

The fact is, anyone can start an airline rating organization. The reputation and reliability of each organization are established over time. However, in the alphabet soup of airline rating organizations, some have emerged as media-favorites. Let’s look at some of the ranking organizations that are media-favorites (in alphabetical order):

airline rating websites, Ethiad
Etihad Airways.

AirHelp compares the world’s airlines ranked by its “air passenger rights experts”. They present which airlines they find to have the best service, which airlines fly on time, and which airlines provide fair passenger treatment. AirHelp is a flight delay compensation site, one of the countless flight compensation companies started since the EU’s delayed flight compensation law went into effect.

Airlinequalityrating claims their site as being the premier statistical study of major airline performance in the U.S., where they objectively compare airline quality.

Airlineratings describes its product rating system as devised by its editors. Well, no surprise there, a commonality of most ranking sites. However, the site does offer a good explanation of how their rating criteria are set up, unlike many other rating-sites.

Apex has trademarked its Airline Ratings brand. The company operates by recognizing airlines in four categories:

  • Global Airlines.
  • Major Airlines.
  • Regional Airlines.
  • Low-Cost Carriers.

Cirium is a data and analytics company digging into airline records on passenger itineraries, airline flights, and airline assets. Their claim to ratings-accuracy stems from an insight from analytics.

The company rates airlines and airports by on-time records and performance statistics.

Claimcompass, a European company, ranks the Best and Worst Airlines annually, based on airlines’ on-time performance data.

Multi-industries awarder J.D. Power is also involved in airline ratings. Under J.D. Power’s Travel award categories they issue the following airline rating subcategory awards:

  • Airline: North America Airline Satisfaction Study, Low-Cost Carrier, and Traditional carrier awards.
  • Airline International Destination Satisfaction Study: Asia and Europe.
  • Airport: North America Airport Satisfaction Study: Large Airports, Medium Airports, and Mega Airports.

OAG issues an annual On-Time Performance Star Ratings, called “OTP Stars”. OTP Stars rank the winners and losers in on-time performance (OTP) for the world’s airlines and airports. (Skytrax)

Skytrax’s rating system is based on an evaluation of product and service standards for onboard and airport environments. They claim to use a unified and consistent rating system. Then they issue awards to airlines “achieving a very high, overall quality performance.”

ThePointsGuy, which is focused on selling signups for credit cards with flight-awards, says its list is based on “an honest and true look at airline performance”, based on an annual comprehensive study of the largest airlines in the U.S.

Tripadvisor’s ratings are largely passenger ratings/reviews-based. That could perhaps be a good way to measure the true value of airline service.

However, as most of us are aware, if we feel that a business (airline) did not handle a situation correctly we sometimes overreact as a means of personal venting. Most professionals in the airline industry have heard this passenger comment before: “I will never fly XYZ Airlines again because they lost my baggage!”

ConsumerReports is a reliable consumer advocate in the U.S. They rate airlines by surveying a list of U.S. airlines. Then they base their verdict on their opinion, based on surveys.

Record of airline accidents, serious incidents or hijackings

If you want to find out your favorite airline’s record on safety, check out the renowned Aviation Safety Network database!

Featured Image:

Updated August 11, 2020.

What do you think about the differences of airline rating websites and organizations? Which site is the most accurate, if any? You can let us know here.

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