Customer service feels like a precious commodity in the airline business these days. However, some are trying better than others.

A recent report of the nation’s largest airlines’ customer performance records ranked airlines in the area of customer service. So, which airline took top honors?

AirTran snagged the number one spot for the second consecutive year.

The report compiled by Wichita State University, with data collected by the US Department of Transportation focusing on the country’s 15 larest airlines, examined areas such as missing luggage, flight delays and other general consumer complaints. AirTran, now under the Southwest Airlines Co.’s umbrella, earned the best rating by performing the best overall in each criteria, particularly among the lost luggage category.

The report also found that even though prices may be rising due to the cost of jet fuel, airline performance has shown a steady recovery from the slump it found itself in five years ago.

In 2007, a dramatic rise in customer demand for air travel almost crippled several of the major airlines and airports, contributing to a huge drop in customer service, complaints and satisfaction. Dan Headley, a business professor at Wichita State University, attributed the turnaround to some hard lessons that the airlines are finally starting to learn about the cost of flying and the promises they make to their customers.

The Highest-Rated Customer Service Among Airlines:

1. AirTran

2. Hawaiian

3. JetBlue

4. Frontier

5. Alaska

6. Delta

7. Southwest

8. U.S. Airways

9. SkyWest

10. American

11. Continental

12. United

13. Atlantic Southeast

14. Mesa

15. American Eagle

[Associated Press]

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