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Editors' Choice Awards 2011: Best Coach-Class Experience

by SmarterTravel Staff
Editors' Choice Badge: Coach-Class Experience
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 13, 2011. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, Frontier, JetBlue.

Winner: JetBlue

What makes a "great" coach-class experience? Some people love legroom. Others value friendly service and on-time arrivals. You might yearn for the days of complimentary meals, while your neighbor in the seat next to you is content to bring her own snacks. Some people are only happy if there's free in-flight entertainment.

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The airlines that strive to provide amenities and service in all these categories are a step above the rest, providing an enjoyable flight for the majority of customers. And the one that does it best once again this year is JetBlue, earning its second consecutive prize in our Best Coach-Class Experience category.

While much has changed in the industry over the last year, expanded comfort in coach class doesn't seem to be the focus for most airlines. JetBlue's variety of free food offerings, high marks in customer service rankings, and complimentary entertainment options ensure this airline's place at the top of any coach-class flyer's list.

To determine the victor of this category, we calculated several items that are high on travelers' priorities for pleasant flights. Seat comfort, determined by legroom (seat pitch) and seat width; food and entertainment offerings (both free and for purchase); and customer service rankings (including the 2010 SmarterTravel Readers' Choice Awards) all played a role in determining this year's winner.

The 2011 runner up is Frontier. Its complimentary fresh-baked cookies get high marks for free food, and an expanded for-purchase menu helped it earn this year's honorable mention. Plus, comfortably wide seats and larger-than-average legroom allows passengers to relax en route to their destination.

Editors' Choice 2011 homepage

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