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The Points Guy Releases Sixth Annual Best Airlines Report

Make a preemptive move to minimize travel stress by choosing an airline wisely.
Photo: Shutterstock

The Points Guy (TPG) has released its sixth annual Best Airlines Report, naming Delta Air Lines the number-one airline in America for the fourth year in a row. TPG ranked airlines in the U.S. from best to worst according to customer satisfaction, cabin comfort, on-time records, lost luggage data, lounge quality, and more. The rankings also reflect a strategic method that evaluates all aspects of a customer’s journey—from ticketing through baggage delivery and even redeeming rewards for future trips.

“As travel restrictions were lifted around the world and more people returned to traveling, airlines faced a mountain of challenges this year from labor shortages to unfortunate delays making it a difficult year for air travel,” says Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy. “In the face of these challenges, our team has worked tirelessly to create this invaluable resource that will help travelers make educated decisions when booking their next domestic getaway.”

Southwest Airlines took the number two spot, with United, American, and Alaska rounding out the top five rankings. By contrast, Spirit, Allegiant, and Frontier were the lowest ranked airlines over the last year, with Spirit dropping from eighth place in 2021 to 10th place this year.

Best Airlines for 2022

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

Additional takeaways include:

  • Delta comes out on top again: Named the winner for the fourth year in a row, Delta boasts an extensive network of lounges, impressive customer satisfaction feedback, and fewer involuntary bumps than its competitors. Delta had the fewest customer complaints this year with just 1.25 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. It also only bumped two passengers out of more than 127 million Delta flyers in 2021, which was impressive given the state of the airline industry overall.
  • Hawaiian Airlines ranks highest in reliability: For the second straight year, Hawaiian Airlines came out on top in terms of reliability with the lowest percentage of delays and cancellations. Over 90 percent of Hawaiian’s flights arrived on time (within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time), and just 264 of the airline’s 60,000+ flights were canceled.
  • Southwest wins for affordable fares and widespread network: Southwest Airlines took the top spot in the cost and reach category, which measures how vast a carrier’s route network is combined with how much it costs consumers to fly the carrier. While Southwest doesn’t serve as many destinations as some other U.S. airlines, its airfares were notably more affordable than the three legacy airlines (American, Delta, United), and Southwest charged the fewest ancillary fees for checked bags and ticket changes or cancellations.
  • United earns top marks for frequent flyers: United received the highest score in the frequent-flyer category thanks to a broad portfolio of cobranded credit cards plus the highest number of airline partners for earning and redeeming MileagePlus miles.
About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.