MIAMI — Graded on a series of important consumer metrics, the personal-finance website WalletHub ranked its fourth annual best (and worst) airlines America has to offer, with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines coming out on the top spot.
Compiling flight information from the U.S. Board of Transportation for 2019, WalletHub compared the nine largest American carriers and three regional airlines that carry at least 1% of total domestic scheduled passenger revenues and extracted flight data across 15 metrics – from delay rates to baggage incidents to most pet-friendly and in-flight comfort.
Competition among consumer prices was not among those metrics tallied, as WalletHub noted, “finding the cheapest airfare is now quite easy for anyone with an internet connection…this report examines those other, overlooked aspects of air travel to help consumers make more informed decisions.”
“It’s easy to rank airlines by cost. But we ranked the best airlines in terms of overall service quality and functional performance,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told Forbes.
“We also shared our findings with the airlines prior to publishing them, to make sure all information collected was accurate.”
Alaska Airlines had the combined highest score of 62.5 out of 100 – the airline’s spotless safety score, age of aircraft fleet, animal-related incidents and a low number of customer complaints contributing to this.
Following hot on the heels of Alaska was Delta Air Lines, with an overall score of 59.69.
Alaska also recently ranked the highest in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers in North America for the 11th year in a row in a report by consumer analytics giant J.D. Power in 2018.
“Among traditional carriers, Alaska Airlines ranks highest for the 11th consecutive year, with a score of 775,” reported J.D. Power.
“Alaska Airlines performs particularly well in all seven factors of the study, with a great deal of improvement coming from investments in new overhead bins that fit roll-aboard bags better than traditional bins.”
Delta also coming in close second in that study as well with total rank of 767 points pulled from their valuation, including factors such as satisfaction with the aircraft, guest experience with boarding, deplaning, baggage and reservations.
Most remarkable attribute to customer satisfaction according to J.D. Power, was availability and space of overhead storage – an area in which the study’s top-ranked airlines have recently invested significantly in due to a growing number of savvy passengers flying solely with compact carry-on luggage.
The third spot goes to SkyWest Airlines, followed by Spirit Airlines, the Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier that was one listed as the worst airline in the country.
Hawaiian Airlines ranked as 6th, followed by JetBlue, Southwest, American Airlines, Envoy Air. The last place belongs to Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier, Frontier.