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Alaska Airlines Named the Best Airline in the Country by WalletHub

The Seattle-based carrier has been commended for its exemplary safety record and its excellent in-flight experience

by Fergus Cole

April 23, 2024

Photo: Alaska Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX 9. Courtesy of Boeing

Despite being in the headlines for the wrong reasons in recent months, Alaska Airlines has been named the best airline in the United States in the latest annual rankings from WalletHub.

WalletHub’s ranking is based on a detailed analysis of 13 key metrics that significantly impact the passenger experience, including ticket prices, flight delays, cancellations, entertainment options, Wi-Fi availability, legroom, and several safety benchmarks. Each airline is given a score for each category, which is then used to calculate a total score out of 100.

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

With a total score of 68.07, Alaska Airlines was determined to be the nation’s best airline overall in 2024. The Seattle-based carrier replaced Delta Air Lines as the number one carrier in the U.S., according to WalletHub, with Delta claiming the top spot in both 2023 and 2022.

Alaska Airlines had previously topped the rankings in 2021, 2019, 2018, and 2017.

Alaska’s success comes despite the airline suffering a challenging few months, which began when its flight between Portland (PDX) and Ontario (ONT) suffered a mid-air blowout, resulting in the temporary grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft fleet in January.

Despite this, Alaska was commended for its consistent performance in WalletHub’s report, achieving higher-than-average scores for flight cancellations and delays, while it also ranked first for each safety-related metric. The airline also achieved high scores for passenger experience categories, including legroom, Wi-Fi availability, and complimentary refreshments.

“Alaska Airlines has regained the top position owing to its consistent and remarkable performance across multiple metrics,” explained Cassandra Happe, an analyst at WalletHub. “The airline has exceeded expectations in in-flight comfort and cost, providing passengers with amenities such as ample legroom, a range of entertainment options, and complimentary refreshments.”

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

“Moreover, it has demonstrated robust safety measures, ranking first in safety-related categories, such as the number of injuries in aviation incidents and accidents. The airline’s balanced performance across various aspects of air travel has contributed to its return to the top position,” added Happe.

At the other end of the scale, Southwest Airlines was ranked the worst airline in the U.S., scoring a disappointing 36.03 overall. The Dallas-based carrier came bottom of the pack for the third year running, scoring particularly low this year for mishandled baggage reports, denied boarding, price, and safety measures.

The best U.S. airlines in 2024

1Alaska Airlines68.07
2Spirit Airlines65.69
3Delta Air Lines61.56
4United Airlines51.96
5JetBlue Airways51.60
6Hawaiian Airlines48.30
7American Airlines46.52
8Frontier Airlines43.57
9Southwest Airlines36.03

While Alaska Airlines was recognized as the best airline overall, the report also revealed the best airlines in four major categories. Surprisingly, Spirit Airlines was named as the most affordable and safest airline. Delta Air Lines was recognized as the most reliable airline, while Delta and JetBlue were named the most comfortable airlines in the country.