Delta is rated the best US airline for the fifth year in a row, and United is number two. JetBlue, Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier are the worst.
After Delta and United, rounding out the top five are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest airlines, in that order.
That’s according to the annual Best Airlines Report, which rates the customer experience from ticketing through the baggage carousel, and even redeeming rewards for future trips.
Plus, of course, reliability, safety and ticket cost, along with customer loyalty.
The annual report is by The Points Guy.
Top takeaways from the report include:
Delta retained its title for the fifth straight year:
Once again, the Atlanta-based carrier performed solidly across multiple categories, losing points only for its affordability – or lack thereof.
Delta was recognized for its timeliness, as nearly 84 percent of their flights arrived on time this year.
Southwest’s holiday meltdown took a toll:
Southwest’s meltdown over the Christmas-New Year’s peak travel period helped drop it from second in 2021 to fifth this year.
No surprise that Southwest scored lower this time than before the meltdown around across the four criteria that would’ve been impacted by those issues—timeliness, cancellations, baggage handling and customer satisfaction.
Alaska Air and Spirit Airlines are climbing in popularity:
Alaska improved its affordability (in both airfare and ancillary fees), while Spirit saw notable improvements in customer satisfaction.
Winners and losers for reliability:
Hawaiian scored the top spot for most reliable U.S. carrier, since it had the lowest cancellation rate.
While JetBlue was the top airline for cabin features, with complimentary Wi-Fi, plus seatback TVs and the largest economy seats in the U.S, they lacked in reliability.
As a whole, airlines did a worse job in 2022:
Many elements show overall drops in performance when The Points Guy combined data across all 10 airlines.
Customer complaints were up 87.6 percent year over year, while prices per 1,000 passenger miles rose 22.67 percent.
Meanwhile, the data showed increases in involuntary bumps (up 87.45 percent), cancellations (up 54 percent) and mishandled bags (up 25 percent)—all of which demonstrate the ongoing struggle to meet the high demand for air travel.
“With travel back in full swing, passengers’ demands higher than in previous years and continued travel chaos, airlines have been working to keep up and adapt to consumers’ changing travel habits,” said Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy. “Our team at The Points Guy has spent countless hours analyzing the last year of air travel to create this comprehensive guide that identifies which airlines are meeting the needs of consumers and help travelers make smarter, more informed decisions when planning their vacations.”
How the Best US Airlines report is compiled:
To compile these rankings, TPG does a deep analysis across the reliability, experience, loyalty and cost and reach for each airline. TPG examines data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, including passenger complaints filed with the DOT as well as lost luggage reports for each airline.
For all criteria, the raw scores from the data were converted into a scaled score from 0 to 10 and then weighted using the following percentages to arrive at the final score. This ensured that the calculation for each airline’s score was made relative to the performance of others—as opposed to a simple ranking system that wouldn’t accurately capture these differences. For more information, visit www.thepointsguy.com.
Thanks to the travel trade publication Insider Travel Report for alerting us to the TPG report.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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