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Alaska Airlines is the number one ranked airline for the second year in a row, just barely beating out Delta, according to a report from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's College of Aviation.

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Data: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The details: The study examined four main criteria, including customer complaints, denied boardings, mishandled baggage, and on-time arrivals.

  • Alaska Airlines saw an improvement in one area: "involuntary denied boardings per 10,000 passengers." But it did worse in the other three criteria.
  • The airline with the biggest number of complaints: Spirit Airlines, with 5.59 complaints per 100,000 passengers. (The industry average was 1.35.)

The big picture: Dr. Dean Headley, one of the authors of the study, told Axios that the "airline industry got better this year," which proves that "when they want to, they can change things." But, there's still a ways to go.

Flashback: Around this time last year, United experienced a major PR crisis when video surfaced of a man being dragged from the plane. Headley said that incident caused the industry to cut the "involuntary denied boarding rate by half."

The publicity surrounding that incident was what caused the change, but Headley asks: "Does it really take a dramatic incident for them to do the right thing?"

Go deeper

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between Brooks' reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting transgender children — a legislative boom since January that has beaten 2020's total number of anti-trans bills.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates say the unprecedented push was catalyzed by backlash to Biden's election and the Supreme Court ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.