Ranked: The Best Airlines In 2023, According To A New Report

Ranked: The Best Airlines In 2023, According To A New Report

After several years of rough air during the global pandemic, it’s smooth sailing again for the airline industry. So what are the best airlines to fly?

The personal-finance website WalletHub has just announced its annual list of the best U.S. airlines. In addition to comparing the nine largest national airlines in the United States and two regional carriers, WalletHub also revealed the most reliable airline, the most comfortable airline, the most affordable airline, the best airline for pets and the safest airline.

WalletHub came up with the list by collecting and analyzing flight data from the U.S. Department of Transportation and using a strategic methodology that compared 14 key metrics ranging from cancellation and delay rates to baggage mishaps and in-flight comfort. The analysis also considered costs in relation to in-flight amenities.

“WalletHub’s analysis is a comprehensive one, based on a methodology and metrics selected by our analysts along with academic experts. Our goal was to go beyond price comparison tools and identify the best airlines in terms of overall service quality and functional performance,” says Wallethub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “While price is of course essential, finding the most affordable airline is extremely easy. WalletHub’s report goes a step further and examines other aspects of flying that sometimes go overlooked, to help consumers make more informed decisions.”

What are the best airlines in 2023? A new WalletHub report ranks the best U.S. airlines.

Delta Air Lines topped Wallethub’s list for the second year in a row. “Some of the main factors that contributed to Delta being the winner include the lack of denied boardings in the past year, the lack of animal related incidents and the fact that it has no fatal injuries in aviation accidents,” says Gonzalez. “The availability of leg room, entertainment options and complimentary refreshments added to the airline topping the list.”

Coming in second on the list: Spirit Airlines, which was a surprise, according to Gonzalez. “Although it’s the most affordable, we weren’t expecting Spirit Airlines to do so well,” she says. “However, the small number of mishandled baggage reports and high safety ranking were the key factors that contributed to the airline being second best overall.”

Coming in last on the list for the second year in a row was Southwest Airlines, which had a headline-making holiday meltdown that contributed to the poor results. “Southwest had the second largest share of canceled flights,” says Gonzalez. “It also ranked low in terms of safety since it registered at least one fatal injury in aviation accidents over the past five years, and more than 50 injuries sustained by passengers and/or aircraft personnel that required medical care over the same time period.”

Alaska Airlines, which won the WalletHub list for several years (including 2021, 2019, 2018 and 2017), dipped to number five in the latest list. “This year, Alaska had the largest share of canceled flights and the second most mishandled baggage reports, which are two reasons why it ranked so low,” says Gonzalez.

Wallethub’s 2023 airline ranking

The Most Reliable Airlines in the U.S.

  • Delta Air Lines
  • United Airlines
  • SkyWest Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • American Airlines
  • Envoy Air
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines

Delta Air Lines was named the most reliable airline, while Frontier Airlines was named the least reliable. “Delta is the most reliable airline mostly because it didn’t have any denied boardings over the past year. It also had the second lowest share of delayed flights, just 11.5%,” says Gonzalez. “At the opposite end, Frontier had the most denied boardings and the second largest share of delayed flights, over 23%.”

The Most Comfortable Airlines in the U.S.

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

JetBlue was named the most comfortable airline, while Frontier Airlines was named the least comfortable. “JetBlue is the most comfortable airline because all its flights provide at least 30 inches of legroom in economy class or coach seats and it has entertainment options available. Plus, it provides free wi-fi on most of its flights, as well as free food and drinks on all domestic flights over two hours,” says Gonzalez. “By comparison, none of these in-flight perks are provided by Frontier, which is why it had no points on the chart.”

The Safest Airlines in the U.S.

  • Envoy Air
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Alaska Airlines
  • SkyWest Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • United Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

Envoy Air was named the safest airline, while Southwest Airlines was named the least safe. “Envoy is the safest airline because over the past five years it didn’t have any fatalities reported due to aircraft-related issues, and less than 15 injuries sustained by passengers and/or airline personnel that required medical care. It also has a very young fleet, with the average age being under ten years,” says Gonzalez. “Southwest ranks last here due to the fact that it has reported at least one fatality due to aircraft-related issues, and it had more than 50 injuries sustained by passengers and/or airline personnel that required medical care.”

The Most Affordable Airlines in the U.S.

  • Spirit Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • SkyWest Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • American Airlines
  • Envoy Air

Spirit Airlines was named the most affordable airline, while Envoy Air was named the most expensive. “In terms of affordability, the ranking is pretty straightforward. Spirit had the lowest prices, while Envoy had the highest,” says Gonzalez. “To be able to make a fair comparison, we calculated passenger revenue divided by available seat miles for each airline. The lower the value, the higher the airline ranked.”

The Most Pet Friendly Airlines in the U.S.

Three airlines tied for being most pet-friendly: Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and SkyWest. The least pet-friendly was Hawaiian Airlines. “Delta, Alaska, and SkyWest were the only airlines that didn’t register any animal-related incidents last year,” says Gonzalez. “Hawaiian ranked last because it reported animal losses, injuries, and deaths.”

Read on for the overall list of the best airlines in America, as well as the other key findings.

The Overall List of the Best Airlines in America

  1. Delta Air Lines
  2. Spirit Airlines
  3. SkyWest Airlines
  4. United Airlines
  5. Alaska Airlines
  6. Hawaiian Airlines
  7. JetBlue
  8. Envoy Air
  9. American Airlines
  10. Frontier Airlines
  11. Southwest Airlines

Delta Airlines was named the best airline in the U.S. in a new report.

Delta Air Lines was named the most reliable airline.

The Most Reliable Airlines in the U.S.

  1. Delta Air Lines
  2. United Airlines
  3. SkyWest Airlines
  4. Hawaiian Airlines
  5. Spirit Airlines
  6. Alaska Airlines
  7. JetBlue
  8. American Airlines
  9. Envoy Air
  10. Southwest Airlines
  11. Frontier Airlines

JetBlue was named the most comfortable airline.

The Most Comfortable Airlines in the U.S.

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

Envoy Air, the largest regional carrier for American Airlines, ranked as the safest airline in America.

The Safest Airlines in the U.S.

  1. Envoy Air
  2. Spirit Airlines
  3. Frontier Airlines
  4. JetBlue
  5. Alaska Airlines
  6. SkyWest Airlines
  7. Hawaiian Airlines
  8. American Airlines
  9. Delta Air Lines
  10. United Airlines
  11. Southwest Airlines

Spirit Airlines was named the most affordable airline.

The Most Affordable Airlines in the U.S.

  1. Spirit Airlines
  2. Frontier Airlines
  3. SkyWest Airlines
  4. JetBlue
  5. Hawaiian Airlines
  6. Alaska Airlines
  7. Southwest Airlines
  8. United Airlines
  9. Delta Air Lines
  10. American Airlines
  11. Envoy Air

Three airlines tied for being most pet-friendly: Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and SkyWest.

The Most Pet Friendly Airlines in the U.S.

  1. Alaska Airlines (tied)
  2. Delta Air Lines (tied)S
  3. SkyWest Airlines (tied)
  4. American Airlines
  5. Hawaiian Airlines

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