Business

Frontier Near the Bottom of New Airline Rankings

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Denver-based Frontier wound up near the bottom of a new survey touching on major national airlines, scoring the second-lowest marks when it comes to favorable impressions and the likelihood of ticket purchasing.

Frontier's finish in "The State of American Travel 2018," a roundup of "consumer insights on vacationing, transportation, accommodation and more" from research data firm Morning Consult (read it below), is the latest blow for an airline that's been struggling to redefine itself as a low-cost carrier in recent years. But it can't be considered a surprise.

Note that in the annual Airline Quality Rating report, issued in April, Frontier ranked eleventh out of twelve carriers scrutinized overall, as well as in the same position regarding fewest denied boardings and customer satisfaction — performances that outweighed landing in the seventh-place slot for bagging services and eighth for on-time arrivals.

Over the past year or so, the airline has taken plenty of hits from a public-relations standpoint, too. Last November, for example, Bill Franke, the head of the investment firm that owns Frontier, compared the average passenger to a "teenage spoiled brat." And that's not to mention the lawsuit filed by Frontier flight attendants Stacy Rewitzer and Jo Roby, who claim discriminatory conduct against employees who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or the announcement that the airline's pilots are 100 percent ready to strike over pay, working conditions and more.

The Morning Consult analysis, based on a recent online poll of 2,202 adults, contains a mix of good and bad news for Frontier. On the positive side of the ledger, ticket cost was judged "very important" by 74 percent of respondents. Trouble is, 61 percent felt the same way about free checked luggage — something Frontier doesn't offer.

In the "most popular airlines" category, poll participants were asked their thoughts about eight firms. Frontier came in seventh, just ahead of Spirit Airlines, as judged by the percentage of favorable impressions. But just as concerning as its anemic 21 percent favorable figure was the 70 percent who had a neutral opinion, which suggests that Frontier is largely an unknown quantity despite years of efforts to build its brand.

The same can be said about the survey respondents' likelihood of purchasing a ticket from specific airlines. Again, Frontier was seventh out of eight, and those who said they were likely to make such a buy (25 percent) were nearly canceled out by folks who said they probably wouldn't do so (22 percent).

Continue to see the Morning Consult results, followed by a link to the full report.

Southwest Airlines topped both major categories in the report.
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MOST POPULAR AIRLINES

Number 1: Southwest

Favorable impression: 49 percent
Neutral impression: 36 percent
Unfavorable impression: 14 percent

Number 2: American Airlines

Favorable impression: 47 percent
Neutral impression: 36 percent
Unfavorable impression: 16 percent

Number 3: Delta Airlines

Favorable impression: 46 percent
Neutral impression: 37 percent
Unfavorable impression: 17 percent

Number 4: United

Favorable impression: 43 percent
Neutral impression: 34 percent
Unfavorable impression: 23 percent
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The performance by jetBlue was better than in many Airline Quality Rating surveys.
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Number 5: jetBlue

Favorable impression: 32 percent
Neutral impression: 59 percent
Unfavorable impression: 9 percent

Number 6: Alaska Airlines

Favorable impression: 27 percent
Neutral impression: 69 percent
Unfavorable impression: 5 percent

Number 7: Frontier Airlines

Favorable impression: 21 percent
Neutral impression: 70 percent
Unfavorable impression: 10 percent

Number 8: Spirit Airlines

Favorable impression: 17 percent
Neutral impression: 69 percent
Unfavorable impression: 14 percent

LIKELIHOOD OF TICKET PURCHASE

Number 1: Southwest Airlines

Likely to purchase: 49 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 29 percent
Unlikely to purchase: 22 percent

Number 2: American Airlines

Likely to purchase: 47 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 29 percent
Unlikely to purchase: 24 percent

Delta Airlines is one of four carriers for which more than 40 percent of survey takers said they'd consider purchasing a ticket.
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Number 3: Delta

Likely to purchase: 46 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 30 percent
Unlikely to purchase: 23 percent

Number 4: United Airlines

Likely to purchase: 46 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 26 percent
Unlikely to purchase: 27 percent

Number 5: jetBlue

Likely to purchase: 34 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 44 percent
Unlikely to purchase: 22 percent

Number 6: Alaska Airlines

Likely to purchase: 26 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 51 percent
Unlikely to purchase: 22 percent

Number 7: Frontier Airlines

Likely to purchase: 25 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 54 percent
Unlikely to purchase: 22 percent

Number 8: Spirit Airlines

Likely to purchase: 21 percent
Don't know/No opinion: 56 percent
Unlikely to purchase: 23 percent

Click to read "The State of American Travel 2018."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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