best airlines

Best North American airlines? JD Power ranks ’em

There are dozens of surveys, studies, and rankings of airports in North America and around the world.

And plenty of ways to shuffle the deck.

One of the more reliable surveys is North American Airlines Satisfaction Study conducted by J.D. Power, a company specializing in consumer insights, data and analytics.

The report evaluates the travel experience based on performance in eight factors: aircraft; baggage; boarding; check-in; cost and fees; flight crew; in-flight services; and reservation.

And the evaluations are further applied to cabin categories: first/business, premium economy, and economy. Which we know can make a difference in your satisfaction with your journey.

The results

According to the J.D. Power 2023 North America Airline Satisfaction Study customer satisfaction with major airlines is down significantly for a second consecutive year.

The 2023 report finds that overall passenger satisfaction is 791 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is down 7 points from a year ago. That comes on the heels of a 22-point decline in 2022 from 2021.

Fueling the dissatisfaction is the high cost of airfares and all the extra fees.

The rankings


JetBlue Airways ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the first/business segment for a second consecutive year, with a score of 893. 

Delta Air Lines (865) ranks second and United Airlines (848) ranks third.

Premium Economy

Delta Air Lines also ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the premium economy segment with a score of 848. JetBlue Airways (840) ranks second and Alaska Airlines (823) ranks third.

Economy/Basic Economy

Southwest Airlines ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the economy/basic economy segment for a second consecutive year, with a score of 827.

Delta Air Lines(801) ranks second and JetBlue Airways(800) ranks third.

Best U.S. airport? Worst? Fodor’s has a list.

There are lots of travel awards and “Best of” lists out there in travel.

And now Fodor’s Travel has come out with its own and airports, of course, are on the list.

“Airports are like living creatures – sprawling, complicated, chameleon-like things that are constantly expanding and renewing themselves,” said Jeremy Tarr, Fodor’s Travel editorial director, “What is today’s best airport can quickly become next year’s worst.”

This year’s list names California’s Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) – formerly the Bob Hope Airport – as the Best U.S. Airport, with nearby Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as the worst.

“Burbank is an airport free of most of the hassles that take the fun out of travel plans,” said Fodor’s managing editor Rachael Leavitt. “It’s an agreeable airport in a perfect location, which is why it’s at the top of our list of airports to love.”


LAX Theme Building

Fodor’s gave LAX low points for how difficult it is to get in and out of, especially with several construction projects underway. “Ironically,” notes Fodor’s, “Most of the construction projects are for features that will ultimately improve getting around the infamous LAX ‘horseshoe’” roadway.

“One day the construction will end. And, one day, there will be a people-mover that will connect the yet-to-be-open Crenshaw Metro Line to the airport,” Tarr said. “But until then, LAX has earned a spot at the top of our Worst Airports list – and we’re loathing it.”

Here are the other airports that made Fodor’s list. Let me know if you agree:

Best International Airport: Singapore Changi Airport

Best Airport for Shopping: London Heathrow

Best Airport for Foodies: Newark-Liberty International Airport

Best Tiny Airport: Jackson Hole Airport – Wyoming   

Fodor’s also gave awards to airlines

Best US Airline: Delta

Best Int’l Airline: Emirates

Best airline for plus-sized passengers: Jet Blue

Best Budget ‘Bougie’ Experience: Norwegian

Best Airline for Blowing your Budget: Etihad

Best Airline for Flying with Pets: American

Tiny Airline You Should Try: Air Dolmoti (Runner up: Safari Link)

Best Airline for Foodies: JAL

Best Airline for Cocktail Connoisseurs: Japan Airlines

Best Airline for Getting Sleep: JetBlue’s Mint

Best Airline for Flying with Kids: Qatar

Airline with the Friendliest Staff: Southwest

“Best” list of airlines. This one from Conde Nast readers

LAX Flight Path Museum airplane models

“Best” lists abound. And, trust ’em or not, we always read them. Just to see if our opinions of airlines, airports, hotels or destinations line up with an expert and/or our fellow travelers.

This week we get a look at the rankings of the 2016 Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, which has a category for domestic airlines.

Virgin America Plane Decal Mockup Sergio_edited


Top of the list: Virgin America – for the 9th year in a row. To celebrate, they’re having a fare sale.

Rounding out the top five:

#3 Hawaiian Airlines
#4 Alaska Airlines
#5 Southwest Airlines.



For International carriers, the list is topped by Singapore Airlines, followed by:


Air New Zealand

Qatar Airways

ANA ( All Nippon Airways)

Virgin Australia

Virgin Atlantic

Korean Air

Porter Airlines


Cathay Pacific

Turkish Airlines

Eva Air

Etihad Airways




Thai Airways

Asiana Airlines



In the “Best Hotels in the U.S.” category, Virgin Hotels in Chicago took first place. And, to celebrate they too are having a sale, offering a code good for 48 hours for 25 percent off a stay.

Here are the other hotels that made the list this year:

Thompson Chicago
Hotel Emma (San Antonio, TX)
Twin Farms (Barnard, VT)
JW Marriott (Indianapolis, IN)
The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, NC)
Ritz Carlton (Tysons Corner, McClean, VA)
The Surrey (New York, NY)
Hotel Maison de Ville (New Orleans)
Sentinel (Portland, OR)

See more categories – and more winners for other categories and other regions around the world –  here.

Best airlines – rated.

Courtesy SFO Museum

Courtesy SFO Museum

Virgin America had a big day yesterday: it not only was named the best airline in the U.S. in the annual Airline Quality Rating study, but it was announced the airline was bought by Alaska Airlines – the airline the study named the fifth best.

Here are this year’s Airline Quality Rating rankings for 2015, with the 2014 ranking in parentheses:

Virgin America (1)
JetBlue (4)
Delta (3)
Hawaiian (2)
Alaska (5)
Southwest (6)
SkyWest (10)
United (9)
ExpressJet (11)
American (7)
Frontier (8)
Envoy Air (12)
Spirit (new to rating in 2015)

The annual Airline Quality Rating is a highly regarded study that compares metrics for everything from on-time performance to customer complaints and is a joint venture between Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and DWichita State University.

The report concludes that overall, the airline industry collectively improved in three of the four core elements traced by the AQR study: on-time performance, rate of involuntary denied boardings, and the rate of mishandled baggage.

But the rate of customer complaints increased to its highest level in 15 years, per passenger served.

Other tidbits from the report:

On-time performance: Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time performance (88.4 percent) for 2015, and Spirit had the worst (69.0 percent).

Involuntary denied boardings: Least (best): JetBlue and Hawaiian, with a rate of 0.02 and 0.03 per 10,000 passengers, respectively. Envoy (2.35), ExpressJet (1.86) and SkyWest (1.78) had the highest involuntary denied boarding rates per 10,000 passengers.

Baggage handling: Virgin America had the best baggage handling rate (0.84 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers) of all airlines, and Envoy Air had the worst baggage handling rate (8.52 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers).

Consumer complaints: Alaska had the lowest consumer complaint rate (0.50 per 100,000 passengers) of all airlines. Spirit had the highest consumer complaint rate (11.73 per 100,000 passengers).

See the full report here.