Worst vs. Best Airlines to Travel On

The airline industry has struggled over the COVID pandemic but now as we seem to be getting back to a more normal footing and can start travelling again; it is a good time to take a look at the performance of the various airlines.

The 2021 report  published by consumer website The Points Guy, measured four key capabilities. These were reliability (weighted at 30%), experience (25%), loyalty (25%) and cost (20%).

So are there any outright winners? And more importantly are there airlines we should avoid? Let’s take a look.

The top spot has gone to Delta Airlines. This airline has worked hard at ensuring reliability and has maintained a good service with very few delays and flight cancellations. In addition it scores highly on providing a good experience for customers with extras such as lounges and the features of the cabin and the airline has many loyal customers. Maybe unsurprisingly, Delta is more expensive than many other airlines so if price is your main consideration, this may not be your best choice.

Southwest Airlines came second and this airline provides great service, scoring highly on customer satisfaction especially when it comes to making changes to bookings or tickets. This airline does not provide customer lounges but otherwise it is a good choice and tickets are generally less expensive than Delta.

United Airlines and Alaska Airlines came in 3rd and 4th respectively because both these airlines offer a great blend of quality, reliability and customer service. Alaska Airlines was voted the best airline in 2018 and although it has been knocked off the top spot, it is still a good airline you can rely on.

American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Spirit Airlines occupy the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th position. There is not much to choose between any of these airlines. However Hawaiian Airlines were subject to numerous customer complaints over cancellations throughout the pandemic. Some customers struggled with obtaining refunds and although these issues may have been ironed out now, if you do have concerns, you may do better choosing another airline.

At the bottom of the list are Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air. These are budget carriers so if low cost is your prime consideration, they may be a good choice but beware. The experience is low frills and many flights have been subject to lengthy delays and cancellations. In addition, if you are a regular flier Allegiant Air only enables its loyalty scheme to work with a co branded credit card. This caused Allegiant to score low on customer loyalty.

At the end of the day, we all tend to get what we pay for. So if low cost is not your prime consideration, Delta is the number one choice, followed by Southwest Airlines and then the companies occupying the lower scoring positions.

If budget is your main concern, Frontier Airline and Allegiant Air, will probably get you there but you may struggle with delays and making changes to your booking.