Aug 22, 2022 - Economy

These are the best — and worst — airlines

An airport traveler.

Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Travel advisory site The Points Guy is out with its annual ranking of the 10 best U.S. airlines — and given how miserably the industry has performed lately, we wanted to see who was the "best of the worst."

  • Spoiler alert: It's Delta Air Lines (more on that below).

Why it matters: Despite billions of dollars in government aid, understaffed airlines are still reeling from the pandemic, unable to keep pace with a sudden upswing in demand.

  • Thousands of flights have been delayed or canceled, a trend that has continued through the beginning of August, CBS News reports.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is leaning on airlines to help stranded and delayed passengers, warning that new regulations to expand travelers' rights could be coming.

Of note: The Points Guy's 2022 rankings are based on airlines' performance in 2021. They don't account for this summer's travel hell — that'll show up in next year's rankings.

Details: TPG used scaled scores to grade each airline relative to the others on a variety of criteria, such as reliability, experience, cost and loyalty.

  • Hawaiian Airlines was the most reliable, with just over 90% of its flights arriving on time in 2021. Delta ranked second on reliability but last for affordability.
  • Allegiant ranked worst for delays and cancellations but tops in handling baggage and wheelchairs.
  • JetBlue, with its free Wi-Fi and seatback screens, had the best cabin experience, while Delta and Alaska Airlines scored high on lounge access.
  • United has the broadest route network and the best loyalty program.

The bottom line: Here's how they ranked overall:

  1. Delta
  2. Southwest
  3. United
  4. American
  5. Alaska
  6. Hawaiian
  7. Jet Blue
  8. Frontier
  9. Allegiant
  10. Spirit
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