Zagat's annual survey of the airline industry has confirmed what we already know: Continental, JetBlue, and Virgin America are tops when it comes to their onboard product. According to Zagat, "Each airline was separately rated on Zagat's signature 30-point scale on its premium and economy class service for both domestic and international flights. The airlines were rated on four aspects of their performance: (1) Comfort, (2) Service, (3) Food, and (4) Website. Other issues such as Value, On-Time Performance, Luggage Policy, and In-Flight Entertainment were also covered."
The three carriers topped Zagat's domestic rankings as follows.
- Large Domestic Premium Class: Continental (rating of 21 out of possible 30), American (17), Delta (17), United (16), AirTran (15)
- Large Domestic Economy Class: JetBlue (19), Continental (15), Southwest (15), AirTran (12), Delta (11)
- Midsize Premium Class: Virgin America (24), Hawaiian (21), Alaska (20)
- Midsize Domestic Class: Virgin America (21), Midwest (21), Hawaiian (16)
JetBlue also won for best domestic in-flight entertainment.
Zagat's results more or less jive with those from our own Readers' Choice picks, with the notable exception that Southwest won nearly every category in our awards. That said, Continental and JetBlue fared well with SmarterTravel readers, and JetBlue won the in-flight entertainment category.
Virgin America has racked up some awards of its own as well.