According to a new ranking by The Wall Street Journal released Wednesday, Delta Air Lines was the best major U.S. airline for 2019. American Airlines came in last on the Journal's overall ranking. The Journal also found flight cancellations, long delays and customer complaints were up across the board.
Some airlines were able to handle the mishaps (mainly caused by weather and congestion) better than others, the report said.
For instance, Delta averaged 36 flight cancellations a day in 2019 while American averaged 159 a day, according to the Journal. What's more, Delta reported bumping a total of nine passengers from its flights last year while American bumped more than 15,000.
American also ranked last in two-hour tarmac delays and mishandled baggage. American mishandled more than 2,600 bags compared to Delta's 1,345 last year. United, which ranked next to last overall, had poor rankings in two-hour tarmac delays, mishandled baggage and canceled flights but did better in involuntary bumps. JetBlue (sixth overall) also had poor standings when it came to lost or mishandled luggage but performed better with number of canceled flights and involuntary bumps.
Here are how U.S. airlines stack up in 2019, according to the Journal.
2. Southwest (tie)
The Wall Street Journal also ranked the top 10 airlines according to on-time arrivals (Delta was the best and Frontier the worst); mishandled baggage (Allegiant was the best at handling baggage and American was the worst); canceled flights (Delta had the fewest and American had the most); and involuntary bumping of passengers (Delta had the fewest and American had the most). You can find the full rankings here.
In May, Alaska Airlines ranked as the airline with the highest customer satisfaction among traditional carriers, according to the J.D. Power 2019 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, while Delta ranked second and American airlines ranked third. Among low cost airlines, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines tied for highest customer satisfaction.
In November, Delta also scored a positive ranking (third) in the 2019/2020 Airline Food Study on the healthiest airline food options. Air Canada and Alaska Airlines tied for the top spot and Southwest came in last.
A spokesperson for United told CNBC Make It that its fall in the Journal's 2019 rankings (in 2017 and 2018 it was ranked sixth overall) was due to climate change and extreme weather.
Delta said of the Journal ranking: "[T]there's no higher honor for Delta when our employees are recognized for the work that they do to take care of our customers."
No other airline listed on the report immediately responded to CNBC Make It's request for comment.
The ranking came one day after a Delta flight dumped fuel over a densely populated area of Los Angeles as part of an emergency landing, injuring people on the ground. The pilots dumped the fuel without first alerting air traffic control to the maneuver, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. CNBC reported that Delta sent crews to help with cleanup and that the airline shares "concerns regarding reported minor injuries to adults and children at a school in the area."
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