Southwest Airlines lead new 2010 Zagat air travel poll
According to Zagat Survey raters, Southwest Airlines is the best airline in many categories in 2010, thanks to its free baggage policy and plenty reasons more.
You can view the full results of the Zagat Survey here.
Among the categories Southwest won were Best Website, Best on-time performance, Best Value (Domestic), Best Check-in Experience and Best luggage policy.
For Top-Rated Large Domestic Airline Premium Seating, Continental (which is in the process of merging with the more poorly-rated United) took home the honors. Best International Value went to American Airlines. Their international golf travel destinations include Dublin, London, Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester.
What is surprising to me is that Southwest scored well in the Frequent-Flier rewards category, placing behind only Virgin America, a carrier that I have never taken. Southwest has an easy rewards policy: fly eight round trips in a two-year period and get a free round-trip flight. What I don’t like about their policy is that segments expire if you don’t fly eight round-trips in two years. I am currently halfway to a round-trip on Southwest, but I will likely not fly four more times in the next year, and will lose segments.
While Southwest may still not be the darling of business travelers, it appears to be the best choice for casual fliers, thanks to an easy-to-understand miles program and its checked bag program. Most of my friends tend to check Southwest first when looking for flights, and I don’t blame them.
Personally, I like Star Alliance’s United/Continental and US Airways, as you can use one number for all three airlines, plus a bunch more internationally and earn miles on one number. If I didn’t have Elite Status on Star Alliance, which lets me check bags free, I would probably fly Southwest a lot more. Click here for my recent column on Frequent-Flier 101.
Best Airport, by the way, went to Portland (PDX), which I would say is one of the better ones I’ve passed through.
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