A questionnaire developed by the editors of Travel + Leisure and Fortune, was made available to Travel + Leisure and Fortune readers. The survey was fielded from March 11-24, 2015. Readers were invited to participate through an email invitation that contained a link to the survey. The survey website was maintained, monitored, and kept secure by Wylei, a Time Inc. approved research partner, which collected and tabulated the responses and kept them confidential.
The scores for airlines and hotels are indexed averages of responses concerning applicable characteristics. Respondents were asked to rate hotels on five characteristics and airlines on four characteristics (see below). For each characteristic, respondents were asked to rate a candidate on a 5-point scale of Excellent, Above average, Average, Below average and Poor. Required component ratings were then averaged, creating an overall score. For airlines, respondents rated in-flight experience based on class most frequently flown. Domestic airlines were rated on two classes (Economy/Premium economy and Business/First) and international airlines were rated on four classes (Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First). For the hotel loyalty program category, respondents were asked to rate individual loyalty programs, and scores were rolled up into the main program each belongs to.
These were the categories and characteristics:
• Hotels: Customer service, room design and amenities (including in-room technology), business/meeting facilities, value, loyalty programs.
• Airlines: Customer service, in-flight experience (including seats, food, entertainment/technology, cabin design), airport lounges, frequent-flier program/alliances.