Forget the BCS college football rankings for a moment. Who’s No. 1 when it comes to airlines?

Frontier, Virgin America and JetBlue came in 1, 2 and 3 respectively in an annual Airfarewatchdog.com ranking that factors in such elements as customer service, on-time arrivals and baggage handling.

Here are the rankings, based on Department of Transportation stats, with results weighted to allow for differences in the sizes of the airlines:

  1.  Frontier

  2.  Virgin America

  3.  JetBlue

  4.  Alaska

  5.  Southwest

  6.  Delta

  7.  AirTran

  8.  US Airways

  9.  American

  10. United

AirTran dropped four places since last year, from third to seventh overall. It ranked last in three of the categories used to rank the airlines: canceled flights, on-time arrivals and mishandled bags. Three of the so-called legacy carriers — US Airways, American and United — did not place well, keeping their same 8, 9 and 10 rankings.

"Frontier has done a great job in improving the basics: on-time performance, completing flights, and delivering bags on time, said Airfarewatchdog.com President George Hobica. “Plus, they have very aggressive fare sales, especially combined with their frequent promo code offers.”

Hobica encouraged fliers to be sure to book flights directly on FlyFrontier.com in order to get the best fares and avoid certain fees."

Airfarewatchdog.com, which tracks cheap fares, calculated results based on this:

Customer service – 40%

Canceled flights – 20%

On-time arrivals – 20%

Mishandled bags – 15%

Denied boardings – 5%

For details of the study, click here

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chris.erskine@latimes.com