The Best and Worst Airlines in the USA

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Published on March 12, 2019 by Chris

The top 10 and bottom airlines in the USA compared, contrasted, and ranked. Good and bad.. Great and Awful.. Probably some mediocre in the middle.

1 – Delta Air Lines
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/delta-air-lines
Top 100: 37

Worlds 2nd largest Airline.
Headquartered in Atlanta

889 planes, 5,400 flights daily and serves an extensive domestic and international network that includes 304 destinations in 52 countries

Part of the Skyteam Alliance

Great airline, good planes, good on time performance. Lousy rewards program. Sky miles, often called Sky Pesos.

5 out of 10 in 1455
Food:3
Entertainment:3
Seats:3
Service:3
Value:3

2 – Alaska Airlines
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/alaska-airlines
Top 100: 38

headquartered in SeaTac, Washington, within the Seattle metropolitan area of the state of Washington. It is the fifth-largest airline in the United States

Recently merged with Virgin America. Will go forward as Alaska and killing off the Virgin America name.

Very strong on the west coast, Seattle, Portland, San Jose, San Diego

332 planes
116 destinations
1200 daily flights
Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Cuba

Not a member of any alliance, but has codeshare agreements with 17 other airlines.

Great as a mileage bank, and to book flights on other partners

6 out of 10 in 517
Food:3
Entertainment:2
Seats:3
Service:4
Value:3
3 – jetBlue Airways
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/jetblue-airways
Top 100: 42

low-cost airline headquartered in New York City.
seventh-largest airline in the United States, main base at John F. Kennedy International Airport

Codeshare agreements with 21 other airlines.

Focused on New York, Boston, Florida (Orlando Ft Lauderdale), Long Beach, San Juan (Puerto Rico)

253 Planes
102 Destinations
925 Daily flights

5 out of 10 in 608
Food:3
Entertainment:3
Seats:3
Service:3
Value:3
4 – Southwest Airlines
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/southwest-airlines
Top 100: 57

headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and is the world’s largest low-cost carrier. 4th largest carrier overall based on fleet size.

Southwest carries the most domestic passengers of any United States airline

754 planes,
99 destinations
4000 flights a day
14 International destinations mostly in Mexico and Central America

5 out of 10 in 851
Food:3
Entertainment:3
Seats:3
Service:3
Value:3
5 – American Airlines
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/american-airlines
Top 100: 71

Worlds largest airline

Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas

962 planes, 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries

Part of the Oneworld Alliance. British Airways to Europe — fuel surcharges

3 out of 10 in 2653
Food:2
Entertainment:2
Seats:2
Service:2
Value:2
6 – Hawaiian Airlines
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/hawaiian-airlines
Top 100: 77

The flag carrier of the state of Hawaii. HQ in Honolulu. Focused on flights to, from, and around Hawaii.

Mainland:
12 U.S. gateway cities including Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New York City (JFK), Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle

International:
9: Auckland, Brisbane, Osaka, Pago Pago (American Samoa), Papeete (French Polynesia), Sapporo, Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo

56 planes
26 destinations
250 daily flights total
160 within Hawaii

frequently tops the on-time carrier list in the United States, as well as the fewest cancellations, oversales and baggage handling issues

5 out of 10 in 348 Reviews
Food:3
Entertainment:2
Seats:3
Service:3
Value:3
7 – United Airlines
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/united-airlines
Top 100: 88

headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
World’s third largest airline
United operates a large domestic and international route network, with an extensive presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

United is a founding member of the Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance with a total of 28 member airlines.

I think its the best rewards program of the big 3.

3 out of 10 in 2640 Reviews
Food:2
Entertainment:2
Seats:2
Service:2
Value:2

The following are NOT in the top 100

8 – Allegiant Air
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/allegiant-air/

Allegiant Air is a “discount carrier” headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

64 planes
121 destinations

Allegiant aims primarily to serve leisure travelers, particularly those in colder northern climates, going to warm-weather tourist destinations such as Punta Gorda, Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles and Phoenix. It also serves smaller destinations that see few direct flights by major carriers. Mostly to smaller non-hub regional airports and all usually only a few times each week

Like Ryanair, the low-cost airline from Ireland, the airline seeks ancillary revenue to supplement ticket revenue. These ancillary fees include those for checking luggage, carrying on luggage (other than a small personal item), buying food and drinks on board, obtaining advance seat assignments, and more

Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher said in 2009, “We collect $110 from you at the end of your trip. If I tried to charge you $110 up front, you wouldn’t pay it. But if I sell you a $75 ticket and you self-select the rest, you will.”

Allegiant Air has been closely monitored by the FAA due to many emergency landings and aborted takeoffs.

The Tampa Bay Times has said:
“the budget carrier’s planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines”

Forty-two of Allegiant’s 86 planes broke down in mid-flight at least once in 2015. Among them were 15 forced to land by failing engines, nine by overheating tail compartments and six by smoke or the smell of something burning.”
“Eighteen times last year, key parts such as engines, sensors and electronics failed once in flight, got checked out, and then failed again, causing another unexpected landing.”

3 out of 10 in 1138 Reviews
Food:2
Entertainment:1
Seats:2
Service:3
Value:2

Spirit Airlines
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/spirit-airlines

Spirit is an “Ultra” Low Cost Carrier. Headquartered in Miramar, Florida.
Start you out with a “BareFare.” It’s a bare-bones ticket, and all add-ons including seat assignments, bags, and extra legroom will cost you

133 Planes
73 Destinations
600 Daily Flights

The best part about Spirit Airlines are totally their yellow planes.

Want to bring on a carry-on bag? That’s $45
Want to check a bag? $50
Want to select a seat? $1-$50
Want to pay for any of these things are the airport? Costs more!
Print a boarding pass at the airport: $10

In 2013 and again in 2015 the Department of Transportation received more passenger complaints about Spirit than any other airline; the rate of complaints was “dramatically higher” than the overall rate for the industry.

In 2011, the US DOT fined Spirit $43,900 for alleged deceptive advertising practices. The complaint claims that the airline had been running an advertising campaign which promoted specific discounted fares on billboards, posters, and Twitter, but did not disclose full details regarding extra fees added onto the advertised rates

3 out of 10 in 2674 Reviews
Food:1
Entertainment:1
Seats:2
Service:2
Value:2

Frontier Airlines
https://www.airlinequality.com/airline-reviews/frontier-airlines/

ultra low-cost carrier headquartered in Denver, Colorado. They fly United States, Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and, Jamaica.

If you’ve ever seen a flight in the USA for $15 or $20, it’s probably from Frontier Airlines.

84 planes
104 destinations
300 Daily flights (seems low)

If you do bring a full sized carry on (10″ x 16″ x 24″) the fee is $30 (each way) if purchased during the initial booking. During online check-in this fee goes up to $40, and if you wait until you get to the gate, you’ll pay $45.
A soda is $3.
No recline on the seats

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University in 2015 as one of the five worst airlines in the United States, especially due to its rate of customer complaints and bumped passengers. The airline also had relatively poor on-time performance, and the waiting time for help when calling the airline on the phone was reported to have risen to two hours or more

2 out of 10 in 1501 Reviews
Food:1
Entertainment:1
Seats:2
Service:2
Value:2

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