The study focuses not just on price but also other aspects of the air travel experience, such as safety, delays, baggage issues, animal incidents, passenger complaints and more.
- Best Overall – Delta Air Lines earned the highest overall score (70.48) after being the runner-up for three years in a row, followed by Hawaiian Airlines (67.00).
- Most Reliable – Delta Air Lines has the lowest overall rate of cancellations, delays, mishandled luggage and denied boardings. The next most reliable company is Hawaiian Airlines.
- Best Safety Record – Alaska Airlines is the safest, with a low number of incidents and accidents per 100,000 flight operations, no fatalities and fewer than 15 people injured between 2016 and 2021. Alaska Airlines also has a relatively new fleet of aircrafts. The safety runner-up is Envoy Air.
- Most Pet-Friendly – Three airlines tied for being most pet-friendly – Delta Air Lines, SkyWest Airlines and Envoy Air – with no incidents.
- Most Comfortable – JetBlue Airways leads in terms of in-flight experience, offering free amenities such as Wi-Fi, extra legroom, and complimentary snacks and beverages. Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines are tied for the second position for this catego
Relating to the study, airline experts answered questions relating to airline problems:
What measures can airlines undertake to diminish their pilot shortage?
“With the military no longer being the source that it once was, airlines now may need to take on their own training. For example, United Airlines now runs a school that promises a job to all graduates, at one of United’s regional carriers (which also are the primary source of pilots for the top jobs at the legacy carriers).” Roland Rust – Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland
“I would like to see legacy and national carriers going into late elementary and middle-school classes and starting an earlier conversation with those that have a dream about being an aviator. Earlier scholarships and grants would have a major impact.” Chad Kendall – Associate Professor; FAA Chief Instructor / TSA Provider Agent, Metropolitan State University of Denver
Is the pandemic still affecting the airline industry?
“Provided there are no more virus outbreaks, the airlines should see their business improve gradually. The effects, especially on business travel, mostly due to the proliferation of remote work, seem to be here to stay and leisure traffic can make up only for a part of that lost business.” Alp Ozaman – Adjunct Assistant Professor, New York University
What would be the easiest measures to be implemented by airlines to increase passengers’ comfort?
“As Americans have gotten larger over the years, airline seats have not necessarily kept up. It is an easy but expensive fix for airlines because any increase in legroom or seat width generally causes a loss of space to put more passengers. Incentive programs, charge-free in-flight technology, and the quality of snacks/drinks make a big difference and are not quite as expensive.” Richard Mangrum Ed.D. – Professor of Aeronautics, Kent State University
“The easiest, most effective, and fastest way of increasing passenger comfort is to give serious thought to customer service onboard and off. Even with a relatively narrow seat pitch, a smiling face and attention to detail can make the experience much more pleasant for the passengers without costing a penny to the carriers.
“We see that service level in most business class cabins, but in many airlines, not in the economy. This extends to the experience before and after the flight too, with services on check-in counters and customer help centers. As I always say, the best return on investment in a business is what you get from a sincere smile at your customer.” Alp Ozaman – Adjunct Assistant Professor, New York University