Even though it may not seem like it to all of you reading this north of the Mason-Dixon line, summer is on final approach. And that means individuals and families everywhere will start looking for places to go over the summer (which, by the way, I’d read this and this before you make a final decision). However, airlines and airplane manufacturers have been in the headlines as of late after two fatal plane crashes involved Boeing’s 737 Max. So which airline should you choose to fly on and which ones should you avoid?
Based on this list from WalletHub, I’ll break down which airlines are the best in all the categories that matter to you:
It should come as no surprise that the top airlines to fly if you’re on a shoestring budget are:
If saving money is your top priority, these airlines are great for that. Especially if you’re not checking a bag.
However, if money is near the top of the things-that-are-important-to-you list but other things like comfort and reliability are just as important to you, I’d go with another airline like Alaska or JetBlue who are on the cheaper side, but much more comfortable and reliable.
I don’t know about you, but being comfortable is important to me. When I sit down, for example, I don’t want my knees to be the same height as my nose. I enjoy perks like legroom, some in flight entertainment, and free snacks and beverages.
When it comes to the airlines that are the most comfortable these three are at the top:
Reliability is a big one. As part of the trade you do with the airline (your money for passage), it should be expected that said airline is reliable. Whether it’s flight cancellations, delays, or lost luggage, an airline that is not reliable is not worth doing business with.
Here are the most reliable:
One can assume that if a passenger doesn’t complain about an airline, he or she had a normal flight. In general, people only take the time to complain about something when they’re really upset about that thing. What kinds of things upset airline passengers? Lost luggage, flight attendants who… probably shouldn’t be flight attendants, rude gate agents or ticketing agents, and delays or cancellations with no remedy.
So which airlines are among the least complained-about? Here are the cream of the crop:
Most pet friendly
It wasn’t too long ago people were trying to bring along all sorts of animals on board the plane with them as an "emotional support" animal. I think you and I would agree: no one needs a pet snapping turtle to emotionally support them on a plane. Thankfully most airlines have changed their policies (not sure about the miniature horse stance but here we are). Having said that, pet safety should be of the utmost importance for airlines. Especially considering 10 pets died in the care of airlines last year.
Here are the best airlines for pets:
Even though four airlines - Southwest, JetBlue, Frontier, and Spirit - do not transport (in the cargo area) animals, most every airline will allow pets in the cabin. Here’s a good article that has a ton of useful information in it about each airline and their policies.
Best overall (national)
What surprised me the most about this list, is that the airlines at the top didn’t blow any other airline out of the water in any one category. They just performed above average in all of them, which, in turn, catapulted them to the top of the best overall list.
*In the WalletHub study, Southwest was docked 10 points because of the fatality that happened on one of their flights last year. Even though one fatality is one too many, in my article, I am not including the safety category. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is no safer way to travel than to fly. Without the safety category and them being docked 10 points, Southwest would finish in the top three or four, which is why I put them there.
Alaska is on or near the top of many “best airline” lists. I’ve yet to fly them, but I’d love to. They consistently perform very well in all of the categories. Admittedly, Southwest is also one of my favorite airlines to fly. Another one of my favorite airlines is American. I fly them a lot (they’re based in Dallas and I live in the DFW area) and even though they’re not perfect, they typically do a good job.
What it really all comes down to is what you prefer and what you’re used to. For example, I used to fly United and Delta more when I lived in Florida. Now I fly Southwest and American more.
What’s your favorite airline?
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