Analyzing the Best and Worst U.S. Airlines

Choosing the right airline for your next cross-country flight is crucial, and it’s essential to consider both personal experiences and statistical data. In a recent report by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. airlines were evaluated based on seven key operational metrics, including on-time arrivals, flight cancellations, and baggage handling. This article provides an overview of the top-ranking airlines according to the WSJ report, along with additional insights and experiences to help travelers make informed decisions.

1. Delta Airlines


Delta Airlines, once the subject of jokes about airline quality, has emerged as a leader in the industry. With a strong focus on excellence and a vast network of destinations, Delta consistently delivers outstanding performance. As the top-ranked airline in the WSJ report for the sixth consecutive year, Delta sets the standard for reliability and customer satisfaction.

2. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines maintains its position as a top-tier carrier, earning high marks for punctuality and reliability. With a strong presence in the Pacific Northwest and a reputation for excellent customer service, Alaska Airlines continues to impress travelers with its consistent performance and affordable travel options.

3. Hawaiian Airlines


While not included in the WSJ’s list due to its regional focus, Hawaiian Airlines offers exceptional service and reliability for travelers exploring Hawaii and beyond. With a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction and a modest yet reliable fleet, Hawaiian Airlines stands out as a top choice for domestic and international travel.

4. Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air‘s rise to the top ranks of U.S. airlines may come as a surprise to some, but its commitment to punctuality and customer service is undeniable. Despite its limited international reach, Allegiant Air offers affordable fares and a growing network of destinations, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious travelers.

5. Southwest Airlines


Known for its reliable service and extensive domestic network, Southwest Airlines remains a top choice for travelers seeking affordable and convenient flights across the United States. Despite occasional criticisms of customer service and delays, Southwest Airlines continues to excel in providing accessible and hassle-free travel options.

6. United Airlines

United Airlines faces challenges in maintaining consistent performance, with recent increases in complaints and flight disruptions. While its international reach and modern fleet are commendable, United Airlines struggles to match the reliability and customer satisfaction of its competitors.

7. American Airlines


American Airlines, despite its status as one of the largest airlines in the world, falls short in terms of reliability and customer service. While its extensive fleet and international reach are assets, American Airlines must address issues such as flight delays and baggage handling to improve its overall performance.

8. Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines offers affordable fares and a wide range of destinations, but its reputation for additional fees and subpar customer service may deter some travelers. While Spirit Airlines remains a popular choice for budget-conscious travelers, its focus on cost-cutting measures has led to concerns about reliability and overall quality.

9. Frontier Airlines


Frontier Airlines faces challenges in maintaining reliable service and customer satisfaction, with recent issues related to flight delays and cancellations. Despite its budget-friendly fares and extensive network, Frontier Airlines must address operational challenges to improve its standing among travelers.

10. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways, once known for its exceptional service and customer satisfaction, has encountered difficulties in recent years. With performance issues such as flight delays and cancellations, JetBlue Airways faces challenges in regaining its reputation as a top-tier carrier.


When it comes to choosing the best U.S. airline for your next trip, it’s essential to consider a range of factors, including reliability, customer service, and overall performance. While each airline has its strengths and weaknesses, travelers can use both statistical data and personal experiences to make informed decisions. Whether prioritizing affordability, convenience, or comfort, there are options available to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences.

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