“The only thing missing is a blindfold and a cigarette”

That’s one of the more memorable quotes from this year’s Zagat airline survey, which picked the best carriers in the historically customer-hostile airline industry.

Here are a few other accolades, as cited by Zagat:

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“At least they haven’t killed me yet.”

“My bags get better service, but they pay extra.”

“The only difference between economy and business classes is a shrimp on your salad.”

“Unwelcome aboard!”

Oh, you can’t make this stuff up.

I hesitate to mention the winners, because a reasonable observer might look at this list and see only degrees of losers. But here you go, anyway.

These are aggregate scores for domestic economy class. I didn’t separate them by carrier size, because passengers don’t care. I ignored business class ratings because most of us sit in the back of the plane.

1. Virgin America (21)
2. JetBlue Airways (19)
3. Hawaiian Airlines (16)
3. Alaska Airlines (16)
4. Southwest Airlines (15)
5. Continental Airlines (14)
6. AirTran Airways (12)
7. Delta Air Lines (11)

Bear in mind, these are scores on a 30-point scale. So, to restate these as percentages and letter grades, the list would look like this:

Virgin America – 70 percent/C
JetBlue Airways – 63 percent/D
Hawaiian Airlines – 53 percent/F
Alaska Airlines – 53 percent/F
Southwest Airlines – 50 percent/F
Continental Airlines – 46 percent/F
AirTran Airways – 40 percent/F
Delta Air Lines – 36 percent/F

Any way you look at them, these number are really bad.

(Photo by luna e/Flickr Creative Commons)

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