United States

Ranked: Top US Airlines For 2024 According To WalletHub; Alaska Airlines Takes The Lead, Here's Why

Discover the latest rankings of top U.S. airlines for 2024 according to WalletHub, with Alaska Airlines taking the lead once again. Here are the factors behind the ranks and what sets each airline apart in terms of service, comfort, and reliability.

Top 10 US Airlines Ranking Photo: Pexels

When making long-range travel plans, numerous factors come into play. One of the most significant is determining which airline will fly you to your destination.

Although many airlines can transport you to your desired destination, the travel experience can greatly differ in terms of factors like boarding procedures, amenities, and baggage policies.

WalletHub recently published a list ranking the top airlines in the United States. The study compared the nine largest domestic airlines along with one regional carrier, assessing them across 13 metrics divided into three main categories:

  • Baggage handling and departure efficiency

  • In-flight comfort and cost

  • Safety measures

The airlines were evaluated based on metrics such as the frequency of mishandled baggage reports, flight cancellation rates, the provision of complimentary refreshments, and the occurrence of delays. Each airline was subsequently assigned a score out of a maximum of 100 points.

Following a two-year reign at the top, Delta Air Lines dropped to fourth place, trailing behind the new leader, Alaska Airlines, as well as SkyWest and Spirit.

Even though it lost its top position, Delta remained recognized as the most dependable airline due to its minimal rates of cancellations, delays, mishandled luggage, and denied boardings. Additionally, the legacy carrier was ranked among the most comfortable airlines in terms of the in-flight experience.

Alaska Airlines Is The No. 1 U.S. airline

WalletHub's top U.S. airline is Alaska Airlines, earning the highest score of 68.07 out of a possible 100 points in their analysis.

While Delta held the leading position in 2022 and 2023, Alaska previously secured the No. 1 rank from 2017 to 2019 and regained it in 2021.

According to WalletHub's assessment, Alaska was also ranked as the third most reliable and comfortable airline, and the fourth most affordable.

Alaska Airlines provides passengers with complimentary in-flight Starbucks beverages and operates hubs across the Northwest Coast. Additionally, it is a member of the Oneworld alliance, consisting of 13 global airline members such as American Airlines, Qatar Airways, and British Airways. This membership enables Alaska to offer special perks to its passengers, such as the option to rebook flights on other alliance airlines when available.

Earlier this year, NerdWallet ranked Alaska Airlines as both the best airline and the best airline rewards program.

Top 10 US Airlines

  1. Alaska Airlines (68.07 points)

  2. SkyWest Airlines (65.96 points)

  3. Spirit Airlines (65.69 points)

  4. Delta Air Lines (61.56 points)

  5. United Airlines (51.96 points)

  6. JetBlue Airways (51.6 points)

  7. Hawaiian Airlines (48.3 points)

  8. American Airlines (46.52 points)

  9. Frontier Airlines (43.57 points)

  10. Southwest Airlines (36.03 points)

SkyWest Airlines, ranked second-best by WalletHub, earned a score of 65.96.

As a regional airline, SkyWest collaborates with major carriers such as Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines. In 2023, it transported 38.6 million passengers to 237 destinations across North America. SkyWest consistently ranked among the top three domestic airlines for on-time performance from February 2023 to January 2024, with 84% of its flights departing as scheduled, according to data from the Department of Transportation.

Spirit Airlines secured the third spot in WalletHub's report, with a score of 65.69. Additionally, it was recognized as the best airline for budget-conscious travelers, surpassing fellow low-cost carrier Frontier. In 2024, Spirit's flights cost approximately 5.23 cents per mile, while Frontier's cost 6.03 cents per mile, according to WalletHub's analysis.

One of the main reasons behind Spirit Airlines' ability to maintain lower costs compared to other airlines is its a la carte pricing model. Under this system, your fare covers only the seat, with additional services such as baggage and in-flight snacks incurring extra charges.

While Spirit Airlines may not provide the most comfortable experience, as its seats are known for limited legroom and lack of in-flight entertainment, it can be a suitable option for travelers seeking to save money on flights within the U.S., the Caribbean, or Latin America.

Conversely, Southwest Airlines ranked last for the third consecutive year, scoring just 36.03 points. The Texas-based carrier performed poorly across various metrics, including price, safety measures, mishandled baggage reports, and denied boardings.

Despite its last-place ranking, Southwest Airlines was found to have the lowest percentage of canceled flights based on 2023 flight data from the Department of Transportation.