The Airlines Americans Hate the Least

So you finally made it through airport security and stuffed yourself into that tiny seat (at the back of the plane). You’re filled with an overwhelming dread of missing your connecting flight from all the time you’ve been sitting on the tarmac waiting until it’s your turn to take off. And when you finally arrive at your final destination, you discover your bags ended up in a better place than you.

After all that, if you managed to remain well-disposed to your favorite airline, you’re not alone. Many Americans stay loyal to their favorite airlines despite everything they may have gone through. (Reminder: When the World Airline Awards were announced this summer, not a single American carrier cracked the top 10.) Now, thanks to Airfarewatchdog, an online flight cost comparison site, we know which airlines Americans dislike the least. The site conducted its fifth annual domestic airline comparison survey and deemed Alaska Airlines travelers’ favorite for the second year in a row.

These rankings are based on domestic airline performance in five key areas: canceled flights, customer satisfaction, denied boardings, mishandled baggage and on-time arrivals. According to an email from an Airfarewatchdog spokesperson, each of the categories were weighted differently (for example: denied boardings don’t happen as often as canceled flights, so denied boardings were weighted less).

Most of the information reviewed came from early 2016 Department of Transportation reports, except the customer service information, which came from the 2016 American Customer Satisfaction Index.

In an email, Airfarewatchdog president George Hobica said that, “overall, airlines are doing a better job in pleasing and serving consumers, which suggests that airline consolidation hasn’t been the disaster that many feared.”

The top airlines for overall performance were:

1. Alaska

2. Delta

3. JetBlue

4. Southwest

5. Virgin America

6. Frontier (tie)

6. United (tie)

8. American

9. Spirit

“We’re always working to improve our operation,” American Airlines spokesman Joshua Freed said in an email. “I would also note that we had the highest score among the network airlines in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.”

Spirit Airlines did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s request for comment.

Saving on Your Next Flight

No matter which airline you prefer to fly with, there’s no denying that flights get expensive. But there are ways you can save, like getting an airline credit card that offers rewards points (you can see the best airline credit cards on the market here). But, while these credit cards offer some perks you may enjoy, getting into debt to save on checking your bag simply isn’t worth it. And don’t forget — reward credit cards are usually ideal for people who don’t carry a balance. Otherwise, you’ll lose all those great rewards to interest payments. To see how paying your credit cards balances in full each month helps your credit score, you can take a look at your free credit report summary on Credit.com.

Image: Nadezhda1906

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Ever Dreamed of Flying Private? This Credit Card Can Get You There

Racking up frequent flier miles and rewards points to fly first-class is so yesterday. Your travel credit card may now be able to make it just little bit easier to score a ride on a private jet.

American Express announced recently that it’s partnering with Delta Private Jets to provide Platinum credit cardholders who purchase a Delta Private Jets Card Membership with reduced rates and exclusive travel benefits.

Delta Private Jets is a private aircraft service aimed at business travelers. Its card offers members the ability to lock-in hourly rates on charters and flights and avoid paying fuel surcharges and interchange fees, among other perks (more on those in a minute).

Of course, living the high life won’t exactly come easy.

For starters, American Express’ Platinum Card (see full review here) touts a $450 annual fee in exchange for all its perks and benefits. And that fee is really chump change when you compare it to the cost of a Delta Private Jets Card Membership, which requires frequent private fliers to pre-fund their plastic with $100,000, $250,000 or $500,000.

Hourly rates on the jets vary depending on membership tier or type, a spokesperson for Delta Private Jets said, while price points and rate reductions resulting from its Premium Private Jet Program with American Express will also be specific to each cardholder. (American Express did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s request for comment.)

The benefits will also vary by membership and individual, the spokesperson said, but to give you an idea of what type of services you can expect when you utilize a private jet service, they can include on-board catering, transportation to and from your flight, access to super-sized aircraft or same-day charters, help with making all your hotel accommodations and more.

Traveling in Style

Securing a private jet membership may be a ways off for most folks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever travel in style. Various travel rewards credit cards offer their cardholders lucrative travel perks, like complimentary upgrades, lounge access, concierge services or, at the very least, a free checked bag. (You can check out our roundup of some of the best travel credit cards in America here.)

Of course, you generally need good credit to qualify, so you should go ahead and check your standing before applying for any premium plastic. (You can view two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.) Remember, too, these cards are really best-suited to people who don’t carry a balance. Otherwise, all those perks will just be lost to interest. And be sure to read the fine print of any credit card you’re considering carefully so you’re sure that it — and any high annual fee it may carry — is the right fit for you.

At publishing time, the American Express Platinum credit card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: Predrag Vuckovic

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