What Are the Best Airlines for Reach, Reliability, Customer Experience and More?

New York, USA - February 29, 2020: JetBlue Airbus A321-200 airplane at New York John F.
Lukas Wunderlich / Getty Images

It’s been a tough summer for airlines, which have been on a spree of delays and cancellations as staff shortages persist. Amid the chaos and consumer ire, The Points Guy (TPG) has released its annual ranking of the best airlines. The report factored in reliability, reach, customer experience, loyalty and cost.

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Here’s a breakdown of the list and how each airline performed well — and where they fell short.

1. Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines topped TPG’s list and scored the highest (70.43 out of 100) in terms of involuntary bumps (or lack thereof), lounges and customer satisfaction. It performed poorly in the area of affordability.

2. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines came in second (at 60.95) based on high performance in the customer satisfaction, bag/change fees and awards availability categories. It failed to impress concerning timeliness and cancellations.

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3. United Airlines

A close third, scoring 60.54, United Airlines performed highest regarding its frequent flyer program and route network. It was a letdown in terms of affordability and cancellations.

4. American Airlines

With a 58.49 overall ranking, American Airlines fared best in the categories of family and route network. It bombed in baggage and affordability.

5. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines came in fifth place with a ranking of 57.97. It performed well in areas of involuntary bumps and customer satisfaction, but was deemed a dud in the baggage department.

6. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines scored 57.40, performing highest in the categories of timeliness, cancellations and involuntary bumps. Its route network and frequent flyers program underperformed.

7. JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue Airlines disappointed with a ranking of 49.51. Its highest performance was in the cabin features and award availability categories. Its lowest performance metrics appeared in timeliness, baggage, wheelchairs/scooters (this could include accessibility/disability) and customer satisfaction.

8. Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines came in eigth with a ranking of 35.87. It performed reasonably well in affordability, but was shaky in the departments of involuntary bumps, bag/change fees and award availability.

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9. Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air slumped in at No. 9 with a ranking of 33.21. It performed highest in ​​the areas of involuntary bumps, baggage and wheelchairs/scooters. It failed to impress in the categories of timeliness, cancellations, cabin features, family and frequent flyers program.

10. Spirit Airlines

Spirit landed last with a score of 30.89. It fared well in the department of affordability, but was regarded very unfavorably in the categories of cancellations, wheelchairs/scooters and customer satisfaction. However, Spirit’s fortunes could tick upward as JetBlue seals its acquisition of the budget airline.

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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