10 Best Airlines in the U.S. of 2024

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With summer travel in full swing and at record levels since 2019, The Points Guy has narrowed down the top 10 airlines in the U.S. for 2024.  

Each year, The Points Guy compiles thousands of objective data points determining which of the 10 biggest U.S. airlines maintains the best balance of reliability, cost, experience and value. The goal is to use a fair and unbiased approach to see how the airlines stack up for the average consumer. 

Here are the 10 best U.S. airlines of 2024: 

Source: The Points Guy

*Aside from customer satisfaction, aside from customer satisfaction, All data was based on the 12 months from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2023. Due to a reporting delay as the US Department of Transportation changes its methodology for tracking complaints, this information is only available for the five months between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2023. 

Atlanta-based carrier Delta clinched the number-one spot for the sixth year in a row. However, it was the top-performing airline only in the category of timeliness. Despite this, Delta’s consistent performance across all categories—aside from affordability—made it the top pick overall. 

Compared to last year, little movement has occurred. Alaska and United swapped spots, along with JetBlue and Hawaiian, and Allegiant and Spirit. No airlines managed to make a major jump or experienced a drastic fall, meaning there were no major gains or losses compared to last year. Overall, 2023 was a relatively stable year with continued recovery following the COVID-19 lockdown hiccups. 

Several airlines fell a point or more compared to last year: Delta (-0.57), United (-1.57), Hawaiian (-5.80), Spirit (-4.44), and Frontier (-5.39). The carriers with improved overall scores are Alaska (+3.84), American (+1.01), Southwest (+2.25), JetBlue (+1.70) and Allegiant (+6.32). However, none of these changes were substantial enough to shift an airline to more than one spot in the ranking. 

A full breakdown of the methodology and the data used for each is as follows: 

Reliability (30%)

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

Experience (25%)

  • Cabin features (using data from SeatGuru and inflight amenity offerings from each carrier’s website)
  • Lounges (using data on the number of lounges, the number of cities and the price of memberships for each applicable lounge network)
  • Family travel (using a 0-to-5 score based onboarding, perks and food/entertainment available on board)
  • Customer satisfaction (using data on customer complaints from the DOT)

Cost & reach (20%)

  • Route network (using the monthly average of domestic cities served by each airline from the DOT)
  • Affordability (using financial data from the BTS) 
  • Bag/change fees (using financial data from the BTS)

Loyalty (25%)

  • Frequent flyer program (using data from our monthly valuations, elite status reports and each carrier’s website)
  • Award availability (using real-time award inventory for popular domestic routes across three distinct time periods)

For all criteria, raw scores from the data were converted into scaled scores from zero to 10. In most cases, a score of zero was assigned to the lowest-performing carrier, and where possible, a score of 10 was assigned to a “perfect” airline. 

However, when there was no clear way to determine perfection, the highest-performing airline received a 10. 
For more information and a full breakdown of the best airlines for each category, click here.

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