The Best (and Worst) Airlines in the USA
If you want to fly the best U.S. airline, book your next flight with Alaska Airlines. The airline to avoid is Spirit Airlines, which received the lowest ranking of the 10 major carriers in a study by ThePointsGuy.com, an online resource for travel news.
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This comprehensive report incorporates 10 objective and wide-ranging factors into the computation of the list: airfare (25 percent), route networks (15 percent), bag/change fees (10 percent), cabin comfort (10 percent), customer satisfaction (10 percent), frequent flyer programs (10 percent), on-time arrivals (10 percent), lost baggage (5 percent), domestic lounges (3 percent) and involuntary bumps (2 percent).
U.S. airlines ranked from best to worst:
1. Alaska Airlines
2. United Airlines
3. Virgin America
5. American Airlines
6. Southwest Airlines
7. Delta Air Lines
8. Hawaiian Airlines
9. Frontier Airlines
10. Spirit Airlines
Fun facts to know and tell:
- Alaska Airlines earned top honors in the frequent flyer program category and placed second in customer satisfaction and on-time arrivals. Its main drawback is a mediocre route network, but its ongoing merger with Virgin America should improve that situation, especially in popular markets such as California, New York City and Washington, D.C.
- United came in second overall thanks in large part to its comfortable cabins and an abundance of lounges, ranking second in both categories.
- On the plus side, Virgin topped the list for cabin comfort, and it loses the fewest bags per passenger of any airline on this list. However, a limited route network (second-worst) and pricey bag/change fees (third-highest) kept Virgin from a higher ranking.
- Spirit took the bottom spot on the list due to last-place rankings for cabin comfort, customer satisfaction, frequent flyer perks and on-time arrivals, plus zero lounges. It earned a top score for cheap fares, but Spirit didn't place higher than fifth in any other department.
- Frontier (second-worst overall) is similar to Spirit. It ranks in the bottom half of every classification except airfare, where it's second-best.
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