The perfect airways within the US for 2024

Summer season journey is kicking off in full pressure, and that may imply just one factor (except for faculty ending, barbecues and packed flights to Europe): It is time to title TPG’s Greatest Airline for 2024.

This 12 months’s rankings come as summer time journey is predicted to achieve its highest stage since 2019, if not its highest stage ever.

A whole bunch of hundreds of Individuals shall be searching for airline tickets whereas contemplating particulars like worth, service, reliability and, sure, frequent flyer factors and miles.

Every traveler has their very own set of preferences, however we nonetheless obtain one sort of query above almost all others: Is anybody airline within the U.S. the perfect? Does anybody provider succeed in any respect the issues vacationers actually care about?

Yearly, we compile hundreds of goal information factors to find out which of the ten greatest U.S. airways strikes the perfect steadiness of reliability, price, expertise and worth. Our objective is to make use of a good and unbiased method to see how the airways stack up for the typical shopper.

This 12 months’s evaluation is full, and we’re right here with the outcomes. Learn on to see the place your airline landed on this 12 months’s rankings

Greatest US airways of 2024

1. Delta Air Traces
2. Alaska Airways
3. United Airways
4. American Airways
5. Southwest Airways
6. JetBlue
7. Hawaiian Airways
8. Allegiant Air
9. Spirit Airways
10. Frontier Airways

Hold studying for our full evaluation and methodology — and to see what helped Delta prime our rankings for the sixth 12 months in a row.

Total rankings and key takeaways

Here is a fast breakdown of the general scores this 12 months, together with the highest- and lowest-performing classes for every airline. We’ll embrace final 12 months’s rank for every airline (in parentheses).

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Rank and airline (2022 rank) Complete rating (out of 100)* Prime-performing areas Lowest-performing areas
1. Delta (1) 65.74 Timeliness, involuntary bumps Affordability
2. Alaska (3) 64.38 Timeliness, cancellations, lounges, household journey, buyer satisfaction Baggage, wheelchairs/scooters
3. United (2) 60.90 Frequent flyer program, route community, involuntary bumps Cancellations, affordability
4. American (4) 60.84 Route community, award availability Baggage, affordability
5. Southwest (5) 58.54 Bag/change charges Lounges
6. JetBlue (7) 49.38 Cabin options Timeliness, cancellations
7. Hawaiian (6) 48.91 Involuntary bumps Route community
8. Allegiant (9) 43.36 Involuntary bumps, wheelchairs/scooters Timeliness, cabin options, household journey
9. Spirit (8) 34.55 Affordability Wheelchairs/scooters, household journey, route community
10. Frontier (10) 22.35 Affordability Timeliness, cancellations, involuntary bumps, buyer satisfaction, bag/change charges

* All information was primarily based on the 12-month interval from Jan. 1 by way of Dec. 31, 2023, except for buyer satisfaction. On account of a reporting delay because the U.S. Division of Transportation adjustments its methodology for monitoring complaints, this data is simply out there for the five-month interval between Jan. 1 and Could 31, 2023.

Key takeaways from this 12 months’s evaluation embrace:

  • Delta wins for the sixth 12 months in a row. As soon as once more, the Atlanta-based provider took house the highest rating. Curiously, Delta was the top-performing airline in just one single class: timeliness. (It additionally tied with Allegiant for the top-performing airline within the involuntary bumps class.) Nevertheless, Delta’s constant efficiency throughout all classes — except for affordability — made it the highest choose total.
  • There have been no massive surprises in comparison with final 12 months. Alaska and United swapped positions, as did JetBlue and Hawaiian, and Allegiant and Spirit. Nevertheless, no airways jumped or fell a number of spots, that means there have been no massive beneficial properties or losses in comparison with final 12 months. Total, 2023 was a 12 months of relative stability and continued restoration from the final of the post-coronavirus-lockdown hiccups.
  • Some airways carried out higher than in 2022, whereas others fell. A number of airways fell some extent or two (or extra) in comparison with final 12 months: Delta (-0.57), United (-1.57), Hawaiian (-5.80), Spirit (-4.44) and Frontier (-5.39). The carriers with improved total scores are Alaska (+3.84), American (+1.01), Southwest (+2.25), JetBlue (+1.70) and Allegiant (+6.32). Nonetheless, not one of the adjustments had been sufficiently big to swing an airline a couple of spot within the rankings.
  • Client grievance information does not inform the entire story. The U.S. Division of Transportation sometimes reviews information protecting quite a lot of metrics on a three-month delay. Nevertheless, the company delayed reporting of buyer complaints in the course of the 12 months as a result of the amount of complaints has elevated in comparison with pre-pandemic occasions. As such, the company desires to remodel the way it processes that data. Knowledge had been solely out there by way of Could 2023, so the shopper satisfaction rating doesn’t mirror passengers’ experiences through the latter a part of the 12 months, together with the busy summer time and vacation journey seasons.

So, simply how did these airways fall the place they did within the rankings? Learn on for a more in-depth take a look at every class we used to construct these rankings, together with the load we assigned to every. The total methodology is offered on the finish of the report.

Greatest US airways for reliability


Loads goes into the general air journey expertise, from the second you begin looking for flights till you choose up your baggage from baggage declare and head out the airport door. However on the finish of the day, an airline has one essential job: to get you the place you pay to go roughly on the schedule it promised.

Due to that, operational reliability is the biggest single class in our rankings, weighted at 30% of our whole evaluation. We use 5 components below the umbrella of reliability:

  • Timeliness: How steadily a flight on the airline was delayed
  • Cancellations: How steadily a flight on the airline was canceled
  • Bumps/involuntary denied boardings: How steadily an airline bumped a traveler towards their will on an oversold flight
  • Baggage: How steadily an airline mishandled a bit of checked baggage
  • Wheelchairs/scooters: How steadily an airline mishandled a mobility machine

The outcomes right here produced a winner that will come as a shock to some: Allegiant. It scored the best throughout the class’s 5 metrics. The total reliability rankings are as follows:

1. Allegiant
2. Delta
3. Alaska
4. Southwest
5. Hawaiian
6. United
7. American
8. JetBlue
9. Spirit
10. Frontier

The ultra-low-cost carriers — Allegiant, Spirit and Frontier — could have a usually poor repute for reliability, together with onboard expertise. Nevertheless, Allegiant affords a purpose to rethink that notion after its cumulative 2023 rating for reliability was the perfect within the business. Whereas Allegiant’s on-time efficiency was weak (rating seventh out of 10 on our timeliness scale), it scored on the prime of the opposite 4 classes below the general reliability umbrella.

Of the ten airways we tracked, Allegiant had the bottom price of flight cancellations; it reduce simply 782 of its 115,539 flights in 2023 (or 0.68% of its operations). Alaska wasn’t far behind, canceling 2,849 out of its 385,945 flights (or 0.74% of its scheduled flights). On the different finish of the spectrum, Frontier canceled 3,774 of its 177,542 scheduled flights (or 2.13% of its operations).

Allegiant additionally snagged the highest rating for the variety of passengers it bumped involuntarily — zero. It tied with Delta.

Conversely, Frontier was far and away the worst performer, denying boarding at a whopping price of 35.06 per 100,000 passengers, a complete of 10,123 out of 28,872,300 vacationers. For context, the next-worst performer was American, with 5.57 involuntary denied boardings per 100,000 passengers.

Allegiant is clearly doing one thing proper in its baggage-handling operation as effectively. You will not discover free checked luggage right here — and if you happen to e book the bottom fare class, you may be charged for a carry-on, too. Nevertheless, Allegiant led the opposite rankings by having the fewest misplaced or broken luggage at a price of simply 1.89 per 1,000 checked luggage. American was the worst performer right here, with 7.61 mishandled luggage per 1,000.

Allegiant’s robust efficiency carried over to wheelchairs and mobility scooters, too. The Las Vegas-based provider mishandled checked wheelchairs at a price of 0.37 per 100; Spirit introduced up the rear with a price of 5.35 wheelchairs mishandled out of each 100 wheelchairs checked by passengers.

Greatest US airways for the journey expertise


Reliability is vital, however the onboard expertise is the very first thing that many individuals consider with regards to the “greatest airline.” For a lot of, onboard snacks, meals or leisure could make or break a journey.

Journey expertise is vital to us at TPG, too, so we weighted it as 25% of our total rating, simply behind reliability. The journey expertise rating appears at 4 components:

  • Cabin options: What you may expertise on board, together with Wi-Fi, seat pitch/width and inflight leisure
  • Lounges: How widespread (and quite a few) an airline’s lounges are and the way inexpensive they’re to entry
  • Household: How effectively an airline caters to households touring with youngsters
  • Buyer satisfaction: The speed at which passengers complain to the DOT in regards to the provider

Alaska took the highest prize total, with the total class rankings coming in as follows:

1. Alaska
2. Delta
3. American
4. United
5. JetBlue
6. Hawaiian
7. Southwest
8. Spirit
9. Allegiant
10. Frontier

Breaking them down by subcategory, JetBlue was the highest airline for cabin options — similar to it was final 12 months and the 12 months earlier than. The New York-based provider’s robust efficiency right here is boosted because it supplies free Wi-Fi throughout its whole fleet; it additionally affords seatback leisure screens and the biggest common economic system seat dimension amongst all U.S. airways.

Alaska, in the meantime, scored greatest for its home lounges — one thing essential for a lot of frequent flyers. Though the airline solely has 9 lounges of its personal, its Alaska Lounge+ members can entry dozens extra throughout the U.S., together with greater than 40 American Airways Admirals Golf equipment, a number of United Membership places and some third-party lounges.

Alaska additionally ranked first for buyer satisfaction, with the caveat we talked about earlier than: Buyer grievance information was solely out there for the primary 5 months of final 12 months. The airline snagged the highest spot for its household journey expertise as effectively; that is primarily based on quite a lot of components, equivalent to early boarding, bag charges, onboard snacks and inflight leisure.

Maybe unsurprisingly, the ultra-low-cost airways completed final for total expertise. They had been dragged down by seating configurations with restricted legroom, additional charges — which additionally dent these carriers’ household expertise scores — and the shortage of lounges.

Greatest US airways for price and attain


After all, earlier than you’ll be able to even take into consideration reliability or the journey expertise, it’s essential to see which airways really go the place you are attempting to go — and the way a lot a ticket on these carriers will set you again.

We attempt to see which airways have the right combination right here with our price and attain class; it appears on the costs you’ll be able to count on to pay for airfare and customary add-on charges. Our method can also be meant to judge how widespread every airline’s home route community is. This class is weighted at 20% of the overall rating and contains these three components:

  • Route community: What number of home airports an airline serves
  • Affordability: How far (in distance) you’ll be able to fly for the cash you are paying, primarily based on monetary information from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • Ancillary charges: How a lot a typical passenger pays in bag and alter/cancellation charges

The price and attain class is the place issues can get fascinating. The ultra-low-cost airways are clearly essentially the most inexpensive, however in addition they have excessive ancillary charges — and plenty of of them. Plus, they have an inclination to have smaller route networks than the legacy carriers.

Who strikes the steadiness greatest? Listed here are our outcomes:

1. Southwest
2. United
3. American
4. Delta
5. Alaska
6. Allegiant
7. Spirit
8. Hawaiian
9. JetBlue
10. Frontier

It isn’t stunning that Southwest is the general winner right here. Southwest serves about half as many home cities because the three greatest legacy airways — American, Delta and United — however it however has a large route map. That is very true when in comparison with different low-cost airways like Spirit and Frontier, in addition to East Coast-oriented JetBlue and West Coast-focused Alaska.

However the place Southwest has a transparent benefit is charges. Southwest does not cost change or cancellation charges. Although the opposite massive airways have drastically reduce these charges from their pre-pandemic costs, the airways nonetheless charged extra on common for “additional” prices than Southwest did in 2023.

Southwest additionally famously permits two free checked luggage per passenger. Passengers checking greater than two luggage should pay additional, so Southwest did earn some income from baggage charges in 2023. Nevertheless, that whole was a fraction of what the opposite airways collected.

In 2023, Southwest earned a mean of simply 43 cents in charges per passenger carried. That is considerably lower than what American, Delta and United earned for bag charges; the carriers acquired $6 to $9 in charges per passenger final 12 months. Southwest held up even higher in comparison with the ultra-low-cost airways that make up for decrease ticket costs by tacking on add-on charges. Spirit and Allegiant made a mean of just below $27 in charges per passenger, whereas Frontier introduced in a whopping $40 for each passenger it flew.

After all, if you happen to can journey mild and keep away from the charges, these finances airways are far and away essentially the most inexpensive. Frontier took in $118 in fare income for each home 1,000 miles flown per passenger, whereas Spirit fell simply behind at $118.13. Allegiant was a distant third at $159.38.

Unsurprisingly, the legacy airways had been the most costly. Delta landed on the backside of our affordability rankings, with a mean of $302.50 in fare income per 1,000 passenger miles flown. American was subsequent at $279.03. United was essentially the most inexpensive of the “Large Three” carriers at $261.76. Southwest, which is someplace between a legacy airline and a low-cost provider, got here in at $191.74.

Greatest US airways for loyalty


The ultimate class for our rankings is loyalty — a key subject for TPG employees members and readers alike. We weighted this at 25% and included two particular components:

Like final 12 months, United got here out on prime. Listed here are the total outcomes:

1. United
2. American
3. Alaska
4. Delta
5. JetBlue
6. Southwest
7. Hawaiian
8. Spirit
9. Frontier
10. Allegiant

The competitors on the prime was shut, however United gained out with the perfect score for rewarding frequent flyers. The provider has the best variety of redemption and incomes companions and affords 4 shopper bank cards. American was shut behind, adopted by Alaska.

Delta, which was final 12 months’s runner-up, fell to fourth place. That is partly attributable to charging excessive mileage costs for award flights and not too long ago making adjustments to its elite standing program which were seen negatively by lots of the firm’s frequent flyers.

The low-cost carriers usually fell brief on this space; they had been hindered by their comparatively few companions, restricted or fastened worth for miles, poor award availability and/or expiration insurance policies for miles.



TPG’s Greatest Airline rankings are primarily based on scores from 4 broad sections, every of which consists of a number of standards. All information factors for the 2024 report had been primarily based on flights operated through the 12-month interval that ran from Jan. 1 by way of Dec. 31, 2023.

A full breakdown of the methodology and the info used for every is as follows:

Reliability (30%)

  • Timeliness (utilizing information on delayed flights from the DOT)
  • Cancellations (utilizing information on canceled flights from the DOT)
  • Involuntary bumps (utilizing information on involuntary denied boardings from the DOT)
  • Baggage (utilizing information on mishandled baggage from the DOT)
  • Wheelchairs/scooters (utilizing information on mishandled baggage from the DOT)

Expertise (25%)

  • Cabin options (utilizing information from SeatGuru and inflight amenity choices from every provider’s web site)
  • Lounges (utilizing information on the variety of lounges, the variety of cities and the worth of membership for every relevant lounge community)
  • Household journey (utilizing a 0-to-5 rating primarily based on boarding, perks and meals/leisure out there on board)
  • Buyer satisfaction (utilizing information on buyer complaints from the DOT)

Value and attain (20%)

  • Route community (utilizing the month-to-month common of home cities served by every airline from the DOT)
  • Affordability (utilizing monetary information from the BTS)
  • Bag/change charges (utilizing monetary information from the BTS)

Loyalty (25%)

  • Frequent flyer program (utilizing information from our month-to-month valuations, elite standing reviews and every provider’s web site)
  • Award availability (utilizing real-time award stock for common home routes throughout three distinct time durations)

For all standards, the uncooked scores from the info had been transformed into scaled scores from zero to 10. Generally, a rating of zero was assigned to the lowest-performing provider, and the place attainable, a rating of 10 was assigned to a “good” airline. For instance, Allegiant and Delta each scored a ten on involuntary bumps since that they had zero (or successfully zero) final 12 months.

Nevertheless, when there was no clear option to decide perfection, the highest-performing airline acquired a ten.

Through the use of scaled scores (moderately than a easy rating system), we basically “graded” every airline relative to the others. The rating for every airline on every particular person factor was thus a numerical reflection of how significantly better stated airline did in comparison with the lowest-scoring provider.

As an illustration, Alaska had the fewest variety of DOT complaints within the first 5 months of the 12 months, with Delta not far behind (2.94 per 100,000 passengers versus 3.70).

We normalized these numbers by evaluating them to the lowest-performing airline (Frontier, with 38.76 per 100,000 passengers) and the best attainable rating (0 per 100,000 passengers). The ensuing scaled rating conversion gave Alaska a “grade” of 9.24 out of 10 and Delta an 8.09 out of 10.

Then, every particular person rating was weighted utilizing the above percentages to reach on the remaining, cumulative rating included within the desk.

Ultimate ideas

Loads goes into selecting a flight and an airline on your subsequent journey. Value issues, however so do reliability, rewards you’ll be able to earn and the precise passenger expertise on the flight. After all, nobody airline will meet the wants of each passenger, so every of these concerns has a unique stage of significance for every particular person traveler.

Nevertheless, our report makes use of goal information and a good weighting that we expect greatest sums up a good, broad image for a variety of vacationers.

For the sixth 12 months in a row, Delta has earned the title of TPG’s Greatest Airline for 2024.

Delta’s reign reveals that generally, it pays to not be the perfect at each single factor. As a substitute, it is vital to deal with performing effectively throughout each space and standing out by providing a constant and dependable product throughout the board.

Delta alienated a few of its frequent flyers with the adjustments it made to its rewards program, and its fares are the best within the U.S. by our measure. Nevertheless, its reliability, efficiency, options and total expertise work collectively to maintain it on the prime of the pack.

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