The Best Airlines To Fly In 2023, According To A New Report


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As the bustling summer travel season approaches, Americans are finalizing their travel arrangements, starting with selecting an airline. When making this decision, various factors, such as cost, availability, reliability, and the perks offered through frequent flyer programs, come into play. But is there a definitive “best” airline? Annually, a comprehensive assessment is conducted across various metrics for the top airlines in the US to address this question. The objective is to pinpoint the airlines that excel in satisfying consumer needs. This year’s findings for the best airlines to fly have been released. So, let’s have a look at the best airlines to travel!

Top Airlines in the U.S

  • Delta Air Lines
  • United Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Allegiant Air
  • Frontier Airlines

Which Airline is among the Best Airlines to Fly?

Several key takeaways emerge in this year’s best airlines in US analysis, shaping our understanding of the airline industry’s performance. Delta Airlines continued its dominance for the fifth consecutive year, maintaining a strong position across various categories. However, its affordability aspect received lower marks, revealing an area that warrants improvement.

Best Airlines to Fly

A significant narrative unfolded around Southwest Airlines, which experienced a holiday-related operational meltdown that led to a drop from second place last year to fifth this year. The effects of this meltdown were evident in criteria such as timeliness, cancellations, baggage handling, and customer satisfaction. Specifically, Southwest’s combined score across these criteria was notably lower by 4.63 points compared to the previous year. The airline would have retained its second-place ranking if this decline had not occurred.

Complete Analysis

Alaska and Spirit Airlines both made noteworthy advancements in this year’s rankings. Alaska’s improvements were notably attributed to enhanced airfare and ancillary fee affordability. Similarly, Spirit saw a substantial rise in customer satisfaction, signifying a positive shift in passenger experience. However, the broader trend indicates that most airlines faced challenges maintaining their performance levels in 2022 compared to the previous year. Among the 10 airlines assessed, only Spirit, Alaska, United, and American achieved higher scores than in the prior year. The remaining six airlines, including Delta, saw a decline in their scores, with Delta experiencing a drop of more than four points.

On a larger scale, the collective performance of the safest airlines in US showcased a regression in 2022 compared to the previous year. Several key metrics underscore this trend. Additionally, prices per 1,000 passenger miles increased by 22.67%, reflecting the economic pressures impacting air travel. The data also revealed significant upticks in involuntary bumps (up 87.45%), cancellations (up 54%), and mishandled bags (up 25%). These statistics illuminate airlines’ ongoing struggle to cope with the surging demand for air travel, leading to operational challenges and a dip in overall performance.

In conclusion, this year’s top 10 airlines in the US industry draw attention to the dominance of Delta Airlines, the setbacks faced by Southwest due to operational issues, the improvements achieved by Alaska and Spirit, and the broader trend of declining performance among most of the best airlines in the US. The data shows heightened customer complaints, rising prices, and challenges meeting escalating travel demands, underscoring the industry’s need for ongoing adaptation and improvement.

Best Airlines to Fly: Dependability

Enhancing the comfort of air travel involves various factors, such as lounge access and first-class upgrades. Nevertheless, an airline aims to transport passengers to their desired destinations while minimizing disruptions efficiently.

Hence, operational dependability is significant in our annual evaluation, contributing 30% to our comprehensive analysis. Within our assessments, we considered the subsequent five aspects of the best airlines in America:

  1. Timeliness: Evaluating the frequency of flight delays within the airline’s operations.
  2. Cancellations: Examining how often the airline had to cancel scheduled flights.
  3. Involuntary Denied Boardings: Assessing instances where passengers were involuntarily bumped from oversold flights.
  4. Baggage Handling: Analyzing the rate of mishandled checked luggage.
  5. Mobility Device Handling: Scrutinizing the rate of mishandling mobility aids.

For the third consecutive year, Hawaiian Airlines secured the leading position as the most dependable U.S. carrier across these dimensions. Impressively, its cancellation rate remained under 1%, and it only involuntarily denied boarding to four passengers out of approximately 10 million travelers in 2022.

Few Insights

Delta closely followed in second place, boasting the highest punctuality score (almost 84% on-time arrivals) and merely bumping two passengers out of nearly 161 million passengers flown. However, Allegiant’s reliability profile yielded contradictory outcomes for the second year. On the one hand, the airline achieved a flawless score in involuntary bumps, with none of its 16.8 million passengers experiencing this issue in 2022. Additionally, it demonstrated excellence in handling baggage and mobility devices, with rates of just 1.55 mishandled bags per 1,000 checked and 0.39 mobility devices per 100.

Conversely, Allegiant struggled with on-time arrivals, with less than two-thirds of departures reaching their destinations within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. Moreover, the airline canceled 3.52% of its scheduled flights, surpassing only JetBlue at 3.74%.

In baggage handling, American Airlines needed to be more balanced, misplacing luggage at a rate of 1 in 114. It meant the likelihood of encountering lost or delayed bags on American was more than five times higher than on Allegiant. Regarding mobility devices, Spirit ranked lowest, misplacing around 1 out of every 17 accepted devices, a rate nearly 15 times worse than Allegiant’s.

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Best Airlines to Fly: Cost and Reach

Choosing among the best airlines in United States involves considering various critical factors, such as destination coverage and pricing structure. The “cost and reach” dimension is a vital aspect of our evaluation, which accounts for 20% of our assessment. This facet assesses the financial implications of air travel, encompassing ticket prices, auxiliary fees, and the airline’s network across the United States.

The scope of an airline’s network is pivotal; it measures the breadth of its domestic airport coverage. Traditional giants like United, American, and Delta boasted extensive networks, connecting an average of 235, 228, and 210 destinations, respectively. In contrast, Hawaiian Airlines served at least 22 airports on average.

The affordability quotient weighs the value passengers receive for their expenditure concerning distance traveled. We refer to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to ascertain this. Strikingly, established carriers emerged as less affordable options. Delta occupied the last spot, trailed by American and United. Notably, budget airlines gained an edge in this regard.

Getting Further Details

Spirit Airlines was the most budget-friendly choice, requiring just $126.15 for every 1,000 miles flown per passenger. Frontier Airlines followed closely at $131.24, while Allegiant secured the third position with $150.32 as the best airline to fly in 2023.

What’s intriguing is the year-over-year shift in affordability statistics, revealing escalating flight costs across the board. Each of the ten evaluated airlines registered elevated expenses per 1,000 passenger miles. Allegiant noted the smallest rise at 7.06%, whereas American, Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit witnessed increments exceeding 25%. On average, costs surged by $44.05 or 22.67%.

Lastly, we investigated ancillary fees, an area where Southwest Airlines excelled. Southwest’s advantageous policy encompassing two complimentary checked bags and zero change or cancellation fees positioned it favorably. The imposition of excess baggage fees caused a mere 43 cents per passenger. In contrast, low-cost carriers incurred additional expenses – Allegiant and Spirit charged $26.35 and $28.99 per passenger for this category. Remarkably, Frontier led with a substantial $43.81 per passenger.

To summarize, the decision-making process for selecting top airlines USA involves a comprehensive assessment of cost and destination accessibility. This evaluation, encompassing network extent, affordability metrics, and ancillary fees, offers valuable insights into the evolving landscape of air travel within the United States.

Best Airlines to Fly: Travel Experience

Travelers seek reliable and best U.S. Airlines 2023 and prioritize a pleasant, best U.S. Airlines 2023 onboard experience. Airlines strive to offer comfort through factors like legroom, family perks, and Wi-Fi. This aspect constitutes 25% of the evaluation, covering cabin features, lounges, family-friendliness, and customer satisfaction. JetBlue Airlines excelled in cabin features, offering fleet-wide Wi-Fi, seatback T.V.s, and spacious economy seats. Alaska led in lounge access, boasting multiple lounges, including partner locations. They also scored highly in customer satisfaction related to the best airlines to work for, with a mere 2.54 complaints per 100,000 passengers.

In contrast, Allegiant lagged in-cabin features due to limited amenities and narrow seats. Frontier garnered the most complaints (22.6 per 100,000 passengers), exceeding competitors significantly. Notably, U.S. airlines experienced an 87.6% increase in complaints year-on-year, rising from 3.14 to 5.89 per 100,000 passengers.

Final Remarks

Cost affordability, reliability, amenities, and onboard experience significantly influence the best airlines to fly selection. According to unbiased data, the most recent yearly assessment upholds Delta Air Lines as TPG’s top choice for the best U.S. airline, a distinction held for five successive years. Yet, it’s noteworthy that Delta’s overall rating dipped by nearly 6% compared to the previous year, while its closest competitors scored higher. This situation prompts contemplation on whether this decline is an anomaly or if Delta’s enduring dominance might be wavering. The future will reveal if a new era in airline rankings is on the horizon.

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