5 Best Airlines in the United States (2022)
Our 2022 Best of Travel Awards are well underway, and our in-the-know readers have nominated, and then voted, for the top five airlines in the United States. The results are in ! Find out why these five airlines top the list.
When it comes to customer service, great rewards programs, and some of the best in-flight amenities available from any major carrier, these airlines are our readers’ top picks for service in the United States.
1. Southwest Airlines
In the number one coveted sweet spot is Southwest Airlines.
The airline is known for its flexibility. Their no-change fee policy is ideal for any commitment-phobic traveler. If you need to modify your trip, change a date, cancel a flight or simply cancel your trip, you have understood it: no modification fees! If you need to change something on an international flight or super saver fare, you are still covered by this policy. If their prices drop, depending on the type of ticket you purchased, you can cancel your ticket, get a refund, and rebook the same flight for less.
The I want to escape the fare is not fully refundable, but they will give you a future travel credit in case of cancellation. Forget nickel-and-dimming extras, like pluses for an aisle seat and sneaky hidden charges! You can still book a Wanna Get Away fare, get two checked bags for free, and have the option to cancel or change your flight. The big three traditional carriers (Delta, United and American) certainly do not offer this caveat!
When it comes to ticket prices, Southwest’s are usually a bit lower than their older competitors. Guests also love their customer focus, witty and fun flight crews, and minimal cancellations. Another thing to consider when flying southwest is the lack of bells and whistles. If you don’t mind not having a designated seat, flying a single type of narrow-body aircraft (B737) and doing the two-step “cattle car” dance to find a seat, this is your airline. !
Delta Airlines comes in second.
Our readers love Delta because of its total package: customer loyalty, customer service, employee professionalism and excellent on-time statistics. They also love their expansive itineraries, robust rewards program, excellent airline lounges, and even the TVs installed in their small planes.
Delta has a popular airline rewards program that its loyal customers use and love. Also like is the SkyMiles that does not expire! Delta’s hubs make sense for a large population that lives in some of the most populated cities on the East Coast. Delta has created a good domestic network and offers accessibility to Europe and Asia. They partner with other airlines around the world, connecting passengers to destinations Delta does not serve, while earning miles for future travel!
Most readers agree that Delta’s customer experience is the best of all legacy offerings. This is due to Delta’s corporate service culture. They treat customers very well and make them feel appreciated rather than an inconvenience. This customer loyalty is the benchmark that sets Delta apart from its other traditional rivals. Delta even treats its employees with the same culture of service, offering one of the most generous profit-sharing programs for its personnel, from the ramp worker to the pilot!
3. American Airlines
Third place is American Airlines. Our constituents chose this airline for its size and wide reach around the world. If you want to fly on the largest airline in the country, this should be your choice. American can take you where you want to go, literally anywhere in the world, on a US flight or through extensive partnerships with other airlines! Getting around the United States is a breeze due to more options with their great hubs in almost every corner of the country and in between.
American has the largest fleet of aircraft (913) sent to specialize each route, offering the best product to its customers. For example, American led the way by offering a three-class domestic flight from LAX to JFK on an Airbus 321T. There is something for everyone on a product like this. Featuring fancy or economy seats, both are available at competitive prices.
Other carriers are following American’s lead when it comes to similar products. More and more planes are being upgraded to have larger bins making more room for carry-on and carry-on luggage, which is very important for passengers who don’t check their bags!
Excellent in-flight visualization is available for free from your personal device:
- You can stream hundreds of free movies, TV shows, music, live TV, Apple TV, Apple music, and more.
- Practice or perfect a foreign language, for free, while traveling with free Rosetta Stone and Skillshare.
- Wi-Fi is also optional for a small fee. Frequent travelers can purchase a subscription and never miss any of their emails at 35,000 feet!
4. United Airlines
United Airlines ranks fourth.
One of the oldest traditional airline carriers, United has grown into one of the largest airlines and offers flights to all five continents. United has hubs and large bases in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Chicago, Newark, and Washington, D.C. Chances are if you need to go somewhere you can book a United flight.
United offers several fare classes, each with their own restrictions, offering something for every consumer. Those who want the lowest fares in the United States can choose Basic Economy. This ticket class is really simple: lowest price, no seat assignment and no free boarding allowed. Others who want all the bells and whistles can sit in the hugely popular Polaris Business Class and enjoy all the amenities, like extended sleepers, in-flight pajamas, access to the Polaris Club Lounge, priority boarding and delicious meal service.
With United, there is something for everyone! It offers a wide range of options for all types of travelers. United also offers an excellent rewards program through its Chase United credit card. There are many levels of service and accessibility, making this rewards program ideal for loyal United customers, especially those looking to earn miles for travel elsewhere. Like most rewards programs, you can earn miles by linking your credit card to restaurants, gas, hotels, and groceries. United are moving up the list of favorites after a difficult period with the treatment of customers and are determined to focus on improving their onboard experience.
Current CEO Scott Kirby has suggested he wants to transform the airline into something customers prefer rather than settle for. Changes already underway include:
- Restoration of seat back screens
- Additional power outlets
- Reconfiguration of aircraft with larger overhead compartments that can accommodate more space on board.
5. Alaska Airlines
Last, but definitely not least, is West Coast darling, their favorite airline, Alaska!
This airline consistently ranks in the top spots due to its excellent relationship with its very loyal customers. Alaska has a culture of treating its customers well, so when the wheels fall off the wagon, they’re there to make it right. This model suits them very well! Alaska wants its customers to have a memorable experience, from start to finish, and everywhere in between.
They have a corner in the market for more nonstop flights from the West Coast than any other airline. This is a key target area when it comes to flying with other carriers that exist in their generous loyalty program. Alaska is a member of the OneWorld Global Alliance and connects with over 1,000 partner airlines. This means you can collect airline miles on any participating OneWorld airline and redeem them on any of over 20 other participating airlines.
Even more amenities in Alaska
- Alaska, with its regional partners serves more than 120 destinations
- Fly across the United States, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico.
- First class premium services are available.
- A Premium coach is also available, with complimentary beer, wine and cocktails with extra leg room.
- There is also a main cabin coach at no extra charge for aisle or window seats
- Free streaming comes with over 1,000 movies and TV shows, plus plenty of USB ports for charging on most flights.
- An affordable Wi-Fi fee of $8 is available on most flights.
- FREE texting is also available on most flights (iMessage, FB Messenger or WhatsApp)!
Pro tip: Download the Alaska app and use their adorable “buttons” on your texts.
Cleared to take off!
We’d like to give a big shout out to our loyal readers and their favorite airlines! Each of these airlines has something to offer and hopefully this will help you make your decision for your next trip easier. Be sure to read our readers’ top airline rewards programs in our Best of Travel Awards 2022. Now go hit that “buy” button and let’s fly!
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