Best Airlines For U.S. Flights In 2021

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US airlines are upbeat about the outlook despite the Delta variant but worry about a shortage of workers as the beef up recruitmant
US airlines are upbeat about the outlook despite the Delta variant but worry about a shortage of workers as the beef up recruitmant

With Americans returning to the skies and finally starting to travel again after a year of restrictions, the normal hassles of air travel have also come back. Between rowdy passengers, delays in flights and sky-rocketing ticket costs, those taking a flight have already found reasons to remember why they may not have enjoyed flying in the first place.

The airlines themselves were forced to contend with record losses in 2020 due to the pandemic and travel restrictions keeping people at home, but since restrictions began to ease and travelers have been vacation bound once again, many have been wondering how to find the best company to book their flights with. Now, The Points Guy has released an annual report with their findings for which airlines are best.

In terms of reliability, experience, cost and loyalty, these airlines are the ones that cracked the Top 10.

Coming out on top was Delta, with 67.93 out of 100 points on the ranking. They came out on top when it came to how little passengers were bumped from their flights due to overbooking and the availability of lounges in airports, and they also ranked in the top half of performers for customer satisfaction and their expansive network of routes. On the downside, their higher rankings on service margins also translated to higher prices, with the airline finishing dead last in the category.

Rounding out the top five airlines were Southwest, United, Alaska and American, with higher scores on each for different categories. Southwest earned high marks for timeliness, customer satisfaction, low baggage/change fees and their awards program, while United also did well with timeliness, and placed tops for their route network and their frequent flyer program. They didn’t fare as well for customer satisfaction, however, finishing near the bottom.

As for the other two in the top five, Alaska Airlines scores well on lounges and customer satisfaction, while American earned high marks for their family policies, customer satisfaction, route network and frequent flyer programs. Their score was not so kind when it came to mishandled baggage, however, which saw them fall into the bottom spot.

When it came to the bottom finishing airlines, results varied in terms of scores across the board. While Jetblue, which ranked sixth, finished in the top spot for cabin features, they were ranked the worst when it came to their baggage and change fees. Following behind them, Hawaiian Airlines did well with Timeliness and not bumping travelers, but scored the worst in both customer satisfaction and route network.

The bottom three finishers were also the three airlines that scored highest for affordability, but while their general bare-bones approach and cheaper tickets were solid, that same feature managed to keep Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant among the lowest-ranked. While Spirit also ranked well for having fewer cancellations, they were also guilty of mishandling wheelchairs and scooters the most. Frontier, meanwhile, ranked worst when it came to passengers being bumped from flights and among the worst for customer satisfaction.

As for Allegiant, it ranked dead last on timeliness, had the highest number of cancellations and the worst frequent flyer and awards programs. They did perform well when it came to not bumping passengers though, as well as being good with baggage, wheelchairs and scooters. Their customers also seemed likely to understand that they weren’t paying for high-end features on their flights and lodged fewer complaints, earning them a number two ranking for customer satisfaction.




Photo: AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

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