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Travel + Leisure: Virgin America Tops in U.S.

It’s poll time! Travel + Leisure is out with its annual rankings of the best destinations, hotels, and airlines in the world. The airline rankings are of notable interest to me, as you might expect. Virgin America is tops in the domestic airline category, besting second place JetBlue by a considerable margin. While this is surprising, given Virgin America’s somewhat limited reach, more intriguing is the fact that the top 10 consists entirely of low-cost carriers, and includes one airline based in Canada (WestJet) with minimal U.S. service.

Put simply: Seems the legacy lines are being outclassed. Polls always have to be taken with a grain of salt, but the unanimity of these results is hard to ignore. From the perspective of T+L readers, bigger legacy carriers simply can’t match the value and comfort smaller, leaner carriers can provide. The characteristics on which readers based their rankings were cabin comfort, in-flight service, customer service, value, food (optional).

Readers, what do you think about these results? Have low-cost carriers risen to the top of the heap? Or are legacy carriers simply the scapegoat for our airline gripes? Leave a comment below with your opinion. Thanks!

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