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Best U.S. Airlines: 2014 Edition

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Best U.S. Airlines: 2014 Edition

Posted by Rachael Prescott on Thursday, August 7, 2014

This is the third year that the Airfarewatchdog team has put U.S. airlines head-to-head in search of the Best U.S. Airline. You can see last year’s rankings here, and the ones from 2012 here. As usual, we ranked the airlines based on their performance in five key areas—canceled flights, on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, denied boardings, and customer satisfaction—to give you 2014’s best of the best.

As you can see from our carefully laid-out charts below, there were some interesting findings this year. As far as we’re concerned, Delta is this year’s unsung hero. For the past two years, Delta has been stuck on the wrong side of the rankings, but this year, the airline moved from sixth up to the top spot! Delta ranks higher this year in canceled flights, on-time arrivals, and mishandled bags, but its most-improved area is customer service. The other legacy carriers—US Airways, American, and United—maintain their usual spots at the bottom. When it comes to the airlines involved in major mergers—Southwest with AirTran and American with US Airways—business is as usual. JetBlue continues to be a leader in customer service but is falling behind in a few other areas. Without further ado, we bring you the Best U.S. Airlines of 2014!

Top Airlines for Overall Performance*

Delta
1st Place
Virgin America 
2nd Place
Alaska
3rd Place
JetBlue
4th Place
Frontier
5th Place

Southwest

Southwest

AirTran

6th Place

 

 

American

American

US Airways

7th Place

 

 

United
8th Place

*Rankings determined by combining the airlines’ scores in all categories


Individual Categories

Fewest Canceled Flights*
Delta 
0.11% Canceled
Alaska
0.13% Canceled
Virgin America
0.18% Canceled
Frontier
0.63% Canceled

Southwest

Southwest

AirTran

0.71% Canceled

0.75% Canceled

0.22% Canceled

United
1.31% Canceled

American

American

US Airways

1.76% Canceled

2.33% Canceled

1.01% Canceled

JetBlue
2.42% Canceled

*Based on Department of Transportation (DOT) report on May 2014 flight cancellations at all reportable airports


On-Time Arrivals*
Alaska
89.67% On-Time
Delta
84.41% On-Time
Virgin America
81.77% On-Time

American

American

US Airways

79.10% On-Time

76.78% On-Time

82.11% On-Time

JetBlue
77.32% On-Time
United
76.39% On-Time
Frontier
73.42% On-Time

Southwest

Southwest

AirTran

72.68% On-Time

71.82% On-Time

83.86% On-Time

*Based on DOT report on May 2014 on-time arrivals at all reportable airports


Fewest Mishandled Bags*
Virgin America 
1.04 Mishandled
Frontier
1.65 Mishandled
JetBlue
1.79 Mishandled
Delta
1.93 Mishandled
Alaska
2.42 Mishandled
United
3.37 Mishandled

American

American

US Airways

3.73 Mishandled

3.74 Mishandled

3.72 Mishandled

Southwest

Southwest

AirTran

3.89 Mishandled

3.83 Mishandled

4.91 Mishandled

*Based on DOT report on May 2014 mishandled baggage reports per 1K passengers


 Amount of Denied Boardings* 
JetBlue
3.58 Denied
Virgin America
17.13 Denied
Alaska
56.56 Denied

American

American

US Airways

73.58 Denied

68.63 Denied

80.06 Denied

Delta
74.06 Denied
Frontier
119.07 Denied

Southwest

Southwest

AirTran

135.96 Denied

120.45 Denied

293.37 Denied

United
245.61 Denied

*Based on DOT report on January to March 2014 involuntary denied boardings per 1MM passengers


 Customer Satisfaction Score* 
JetBlue
79

Southwest

Southwest

AirTran

74

78

70

Delta
71
Alaska
70 (tie)
Frontier
70 (tie)
Virgin America
70 (tie)

American

American

US Airways

66

66

66

United
60

*Based on 2014 American Customer Satisfaction Index scores

Check out comments below or add your own!

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