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:
5. Virgin America
6. Frontier (tie)
6. United (tie)
“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.