Top 10 Airlines in the US for 2024

This article will rank the top 10 airlines in the US for 2024 according to several important criteria, including dependability, safety, and customer satisfaction. The United States boasts one of the most dynamic airline industries in the world, with a multitude of carriers vying for passengers’ attention.

For travelers, choosing the right airline can significantly impact their journey, from safety and punctuality to overall satisfaction.

Top 10 Airlines in the US

What Methodology is Used for Airlines Rankings?

To determine the rankings of the top 10 airlines in the US, we employed a rigorous evaluation process that considered various key factors. These factors were carefully chosen to provide a comprehensive assessment of each airline’s performance and overall quality.

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Here’s an overview of our methodology:

  1. Safety Record: Safety is paramount in the airline industry. We analyzed each airline’s safety record, including accident history, compliance with regulatory standards, and commitment to safety protocols.
  2. On-Time Performance: Punctuality is crucial for ensuring smooth travel experiences. We assessed each airline’s on-time performance based on industry metrics and passenger feedback, considering factors such as flight delays and cancellations.
  3. Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction is a key indicator of an airline’s quality of service. We reviewed customer surveys, reviews, and ratings to gauge overall satisfaction levels, including factors like in-flight amenities, staff friendliness, and handling of complaints.
  4. Fleet Quality: The quality and modernity of an airline’s fleet can significantly impact the travel experience. We examined the age of each airline’s fleet, as well as the availability of amenities such as in-flight entertainment systems, Wi-Fi, and comfortable seating options.
  5. Route Network: The breadth and depth of an airline’s route network influence its accessibility and convenience for travelers. We assessed the extent of each airline’s route network, including domestic and international destinations served, frequency of flights, and connectivity options.
  6. Innovation Initiatives: Innovation plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the airline industry. We looked at each airline’s efforts to innovate and differentiate themselves, such as the introduction of new technologies, sustainable practices, and customer-focused initiatives.

Our methodology involved collecting data from reputable industry sources, including aviation authorities, regulatory agencies, industry reports, and customer feedback platforms, and analyzing it using a weighted scoring system to rank airlines objectively. While our methodology offers a comprehensive assessment, individual preferences may vary. Readers are encouraged to consider their priorities when selecting an airline.

Method of Scoring

  • Scaled scores, which range from 0 to 10, are created from the raw scores.
  • The top-performing or “perfect” airline receives a score of 10, if applicable.
  • The airlines are rated as performing the worst.
  • Scaled scores show how well a carrier performed compared to the one with the lowest score.
  • Weighted percentages are used to adjust each score to get the final cumulative score.
  • A careful investigation is done on more than 25 elements in four important categories to rank the best American airlines.
  • These weighted evaluations are reflected in the cumulative scores.

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Top 10 US Airlines Ranking

Here is a list of the top 10 airlines in the United States:

1. Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines

One of the top 10 airlines in the US, Delta Airlines’ promptness and effective handling of involuntary bumps earned it a total score of 66.31. However, the company’s weakest point continued to be affordability. The prior year, Delta had a notable rank.

Delta is renowned for its top-notch in-flight amenities and ground offerings, including luxurious Sky Clubs at major US airports. Its new $4 billion terminal at LaGuardia Airport boasts high ceilings, marble and wood accents, and captivating artwork by regional artists.

Utilizing cutting-edge technologies for boarding and check-in, Delta aims to enhance the flying experience. Passengers can enjoy free text messaging and plush Delta One business class suites on select aircraft. With an expanding route map, travelers can now reach destinations like Tahiti, Tel Aviv, and Cape Town with ease.

2. United Airlines

With a score of 62.47, United Airlines demonstrated its strengths in frequent flyer programs, family travel, and route network. United needed to make improvements in two areas: price and baggage handling. Its ranking among the top 10 airlines in the US from the previous year remained a mystery.

From its eight hubs spread across the United States (including Guam), the Chicago-based carrier offers a vast and constantly growing network of international destinations.
The airline removed change fees for the majority of its flights in response to the outbreak, and it soon planned to expand its fleet with 270 additional Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

In addition to providing you with a more comfortable and high-tech flight experience, the new aircraft will reduce carbon emissions by 17 to 20% per seat when compared to previous models.

3. Alaska Airlines

Top 10 Airlines in the US

With a score of 60.54, Alaska Airlines beat the competition in terms of lounges and general customer satisfaction. As one of the top 10 airlines in the US, cargo handling proved to be its weakest point. Its ranking from the previous year remained a mystery.

Alaska Airlines is highly praised for its reliability, friendly staff, and generous rewards program. Offering onboard amenities like regional wine and beer, it’s easy to forget its former status as the fifth-largest US airline.

Its route map now extends beyond its name, covering destinations like Hawaii, New York, Mexico, and Latin America. Reflecting its Seattle origins, the airline has partnered with Twelve to produce sustainable aviation fuels from carbon dioxide.

4. American Airlines

With a score of 59.83, American Airlines demonstrated strength in both route network and award availability. Cost and luggage management were, however, challenges. Who knew what its rating was the year before?

American Airlines, with ten domestic hubs, including Miami and Dallas/Fort Worth, leads globally in fleet size and scheduled passenger count. It has emerged as a major player in the Caribbean and Latin America from these hubs, expanding to destinations like San Andres Island, Colombia, and Chetumal, Mexico.

Notably, it’s the 28th airline in Mexico and serves as the capital of Quintana Roo State. American Airlines’ commitment to purchasing 20 Boom Supersonic aircraft in August 2022 will revolutionize its transatlantic and transpacific operations, making it one of the top 10 airlines in the US.

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5. Southwest Airlines

Concerning ensuring award availability and removing baggage/change fees, Southwest Airlines had a score of 56.29. Because of issues managing cancellations and lounge services, it performed poorly. It ranks among the top 10 airlines in the US.

Southwest’s route network now extends from Hawaii to Latin America and the Caribbean, surpassing its namesake’s geographic boundaries. Despite some quirks, such as the boarding procedure, passengers benefit from cheap tickets and the “bags fly free” policy. The airline’s customer experience, featuring complimentary beverages and snacks, has been enhanced with amenities like in-flight Wi-Fi, offering passengers an unbeatable deal in the sky.

6. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines scored 54.71 for handling involuntary bumps and cancellations well. Nonetheless, the performance of the route network was identified as one area that needed attention. Its ranking from the previous year remained a mystery.

Hawaiian Airlines, once a local carrier, now operates long-haul flights across the Pacific and inter-island and mainland U.S. routes. Passengers can enjoy island-inspired food and beverages, including caramel macadamia nut popcorn, furikake chips, and Maui Brewing Company’s beer and hard seltzer.

The VIP cabin offers lie-flat seating on select lengthy flights. Additionally, Hawaiian collaborated with On the Rocks to create bottled cocktails like Tropical Landing, Mai Tai, and Molokai Mule. Renowned for its punctuality, Hawaiian Airlines is consistently rated as the nation’s most dependable carrier and one of the top 10 airlines in the US.

7. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airlines had a score of 47.68 for the quality of its cabin. It did, however, face difficulties with scheduling, cancellations, and wheelchair and scooter accommodations. Its ranking from the previous year remained a mystery.

JetBlue passengers now have more reasons to choose the airline with expanded routes from Boston to Heathrow and Gatwick, along with highly anticipated London flights from JFK Airport since 2021, featuring upgraded Mint Class with spacious flat-bed sleeper seats.

Recent innovations include increased legroom, new seats, and JetBlue’s renowned free “Fly-Fi” Wi-Fi, offering one of the fastest internet connections in the sky. Additionally, JetBlue remains one of the top 10 airlines in the US that provides seat-back videos with free live TV.

8. Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines scored 38.99, making affordability a standout feature. Persistent problems with wheelchair and scooter handling and route network optimization remained. Its ranking from the previous year remained a mystery.

One of Spirit Airlines’ best attributes is that it’s not the worst airline in the country. Even with its low AirAdvisor Airline Score of 37, Spirit nevertheless draws in around 40 million travelers a year. But they do have an opinion, and Spirit Airlines ranks ninth in terms of customer reputation and one of the top 10 airlines in the US, which is a little lower than the airline’s total ranking.

9. Allegiant Air

Regarding involuntary bumps, luggage, and wheelchairs/scooters, Allegiant Airlines received a score of 37.04. Concerns included timeliness, amenities in the cabin, and family-friendly services. We didn’t know how it ranked the year before.

Travelers consistently support airlines offering affordable and reliable service. Readers highly favor the budget-friendly deals of low-cost carriers, like Allegiant, particularly for regional airports. Allegiant is praised as one of the top 10 airlines in the US for being the best option for various routes, such as Grand Rapids to Sarasota and Savannah to Akron-Canton, with fares starting at around $120 round trip.

10. Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines

With a score of 27.74, Frontier Airlines performed very well in terms of cost. Still, its overall effectiveness was hindered by difficulties related to fees, client satisfaction, and involuntary bumps. We didn’t know how it ranked the year before.

The Denver-based low-cost airline claims to be the cleanest in North America and one of the top 10 airlines in the US, reducing its carbon footprint with initiatives like lighter seats, fuel-efficient engines, and biodegradable cups.

Frontier features environmental-themed tail designs, including recent additions like Francie the piping plover and Crystal the Florida manatee. Additionally, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport now offers 10 more nonstop routes by Frontier.

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Best Airlines for US Citizens Traveling Abroad

Even though all of the airlines we evaluated have limited international itineraries, not all of them offer international service. Among international carriers, American, United, and Delta are the best choices. These airlines are particularly good at providing comfort, which is crucial for lengthy flights longer than five hours.

Selecting American, United, or Delta guarantees an improved experience with more legroom, plenty of in-flight entertainment, and free drinks. Additionally, considering that international flights sometimes involve connections, these three airlines represent the most trustworthy options for overseas travel.

US Airlines with the Lowest Disruption Rate and the Most Reliable

We took into consideration factors other than flight delays and cancellations when evaluating an airline’s overall dependability. These are crucial considerations, but we also looked into cases of mishandled luggage and refused boarding, and found that these had a big impact on your trip. Our interruption rate score was the end consequence of this exhaustive analysis.

Delta ranks highest in overall dependability among airlines. While Allegiant Air outperforms Hawaiian and Delta in mishandled bags or refused boarding, Hawaiian Airlines secures second place overall due to consistent performance during flight operations.

Although Allegiant has lower reliability, Hawaiian and Delta maintain higher overall scores. However, Allegiant is the least trustworthy US airline for canceled, delayed, or diverted flights. It’s crucial to note that even top-rated carriers experience delays, and passengers may be entitled to reimbursement for aircraft delays exceeding three hours.

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America’s Safest Airlines

It’s important to note that safety is a top priority for all US airlines. While incidents were reported in the 2022 review, none were fatal. Three significant tail strike incidents occurred during the year. The safest options among US carriers are Alaska, Allegiant, American, Hawaiian, Southwest, Spirit, and United Airlines, all maintaining impeccable safety records.

To provide a more complete picture, IATA statistics show that Frontier, JetBlue, and Delta Airlines stand out since they all experienced similar non-fatal tail contact incidents that caused substantial aircraft damage. Thus, these three airlines had the lowest safety records in 2022 out of all the airlines that were examined.

The Customer Reputation Score of the Top 5 Airlines

Peer ratings are a great way to gauge how well an airline will handle its customers. It’s important to remember that there are typically more bad reviews than positive ones, so even high scores might not seem particularly high. In this regard, a few airlines are distinguished as exceptional performers.

Preliminary evaluations from nine distinct non-professional sources place Alaska Airlines at the top. Even though they seem tiny, they have the highest overall average score of 3.04 out of 5, closely followed by Hawaiian Airlines at 3.03.

With a score of 2.97, Southwest Airlines ranks third out of the top five airlines in the US for customer reputation. Delta Airlines comes in at number four with an average of 2.69, having lost its previous top spot. Lastly, with a score of 2.64, JetBlue falls short of Delta, the overall winner in this category, but still maintains generally positive assessments.

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Airlines Known for Reliability

While many factors might affect how comfortable a flight is, an airline’s primary responsibility is to get customers to their destinations as soon as feasible. Operational reliability is highly valued in our assessments and constitutes thirty percent of our annual research.

Timeliness: How often flights are delayed?
Flight cancellations: How frequently were they made?
Unwanted passenger bumping from oversold planes: Reports of customers being bumped from flights against their choice.
Handling of bags: Frequencies of improperly handled checked baggage.
Mobility devices: mishandling the frequency of wheelchairs and scooters.

  1. For the third year in a row, Hawaiian Airlines continues to be the most trustworthy US carrier. Its involuntary bump rate is less than 1%, while its cancellation rate is less than 1%.
  2. Delta Airlines is a close second, leading the industry in timeliness and passenger bumps.
  3. Allegiant Airlines offers different reliability metrics. It does a poor job of managing mobility devices, handling luggage, and unintentional bumps, but it does a good job of handling cancellations and on-time arrivals.
  4. Compared to Allegiant, American Airlines has a lot more baggage handling errors.
  5. When it comes to mobility equipment mistreatment, Allegiant leads Spirit Airlines by a significant margin.
  6. With a much higher percentage of passengers unwillingly declining to board than other carriers, Frontier Carriers has the highest involuntary bump rate.

The diverse strengths and weaknesses of airlines regarding operational reliability are reflected in these several indicators, which have an impact on passengers’ flight experiences.

Airlines Known for Travel Experience

Travelers often favor airlines that offer a comfortable onboard experience, including features like spacious seats, family-friendly services, and in-flight connections, in addition to general dependability. A quarter of our analysis was devoted to this travel experience sector, with a focus on:

  • Features of the cabin: These include in-flight entertainment, seat size, and Wi-Fi accessibility.
  • Lounge Access: How large and easily accessible airline lounges are.
  • Family Services: Things to think about when taking a family vacation with kids.
  • Customer Satisfaction: The frequency with which the US Department of Transportation receives complaints.

The top four airlines in the United States for travel experience are as follows:

  1. With free Wi-Fi available throughout the fleet, seatback TVs, and the most spacious economy seats in the US, JetBlue continues to lead the industry in cabin amenities.
  2. Leading the way in lounge access, Alaska Airlines provides access to multiple other lounge networks in addition to its lounges. Additionally, Alaska maintains a low number of complaints per 100,000 passengers, indicating strong customer satisfaction.
  3. Compared to other airlines, Allegiant has the least number of amenities and the smallest seats in the cabin.
  4. When it comes to complaints, Frontier outperforms all other airlines with the highest rate. This rate is over nine times greater than Alaska’s rate and far higher than the industry average.

It is important to highlight that, overall, US airlines received more complaints from customers in 2022 than they did in 2021. This translates to an increase of 87.6% in complaints per 100,000 passengers.

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Airlines Known for Cost and Reach

An airline makes a decision based on destination reach and pricing, in addition to convenience. Twenty percent of our review is devoted to the “cost and reach” category, which examines the following aspects:

  • Route Network: The range of domestic airports served by an airline.
  • Affordability: The cost of airfare is determined by the distance traveled and based on information from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
  • Extra Charges: Expenses related to checked baggage and cancellation/change of plans.

The several main US airlines, from low-cost carriers to legacy carriers with extensive route networks, demonstrate a complex relationship between destination coverage and cost.

  • An average of 210 to 235 destinations are served annually by the vast route networks of legacy airlines like United, American, and Delta. Hawaiian, on the other hand, typically serves less than 22 airports, significantly fewer than that.
  • Unexpectedly, US airlines are more costly; United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines are the lowest-ranked carriers. Spirit Airlines is still the most affordable, costing only $126.15 for every 1,000 miles flown by an individual. Allegiant and Frontier are in close second place.
  • All of the assessed airlines’ flight fares have increased significantly year over year; Allegiant has experienced the least amount of growth, while American, Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit have all seen rises of over 25%.
  • With two complimentary checked baggage and no change or cancellation fees, Southwest stands out when it comes to ancillary costs, resulting in the fewest additional costs per passenger. Conversely, low-cost carriers like Allegiant, Spirit, and Frontier substantially raise passengers’ costs by charging extra for excess baggage.
  • These several metrics demonstrate how the cost-effectiveness of major US airlines is shaped by the fine balance that exists between route coverage, affordability, and ancillary costs.

Airlines Known for Loyalty

The last part of our study, which makes up 25% of the entire analysis, is about loyalty, a subject that the editorial staff at TPG finds particularly interesting. Two key criteria were used to evaluate airlines in this category:

  • Frequent Flyer Program: Assessing the incentives and advantages provided, including partner networks, cobranded credit cards, elite status, TPG valuations, and point expiration regulations.
  • Award Availability: Evaluating how simple and worthwhile it is to redeem awards, particularly during peak travel times.

With a wide range of partner airlines, including a new partnership with Emirates, United Airlines is still doing well at rewarding its frequent flyers. In addition, they provide four distinct consumer credit cards.

  • Delta trails United rather closely, outperforming American, which is in the minority since it permits most members—aside from those under 21—to have their miles expire.
  • When it comes to reward availability, American Airlines excels, with high redemption values observed on most of the days reviewed.
  • Conversely, low-cost carriers struggle in the loyalty space because of their limited availability of awards, severe expiration policies, and constrained partner networks.
  • In this category, Frontier Airlines performs the poorest, followed by Allegiant, Hawaiian, and Spirit, all of which fall short of their more established rivals in terms of the variety and accessibility of their loyalty programs.

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In summary, the top 10 airlines in the US for 2024 excel in safety, service, and innovation, influencing your travel experience significantly. Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Delta Air Lines consistently outperform others.

However, each airline has unique strengths and weaknesses, emphasizing the importance of matching your preferences. Consider factors like price, entertainment, elite status, and dependability when choosing an airline. While no carrier can satisfy every traveler, our annual review uses objective data to identify the best match for customer expectations.

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