This week The Points Guy released its annual ranking of the best domestic airlines.
The report scored the major U.S. airlines from January 2021 to December 2021 based on costs and reach, customer loyalty, reliability, and customer experience.
Delta topped the list for the fourth year in a row. And although the other airlines like JetBlue and Spirit didn't come in first place on the overall list, they did win titles in categories like reliability, experience, and cost.
Hawaiian Airlines was sixth on the list, but topped the ranking of best U.S. airlines for reliability. According to The Points Guy report, over 90% of Hawaiian flights arrived on time and didn't bump any passengers.
JetBlue was in seventh place but won the best U.S. airline for customer experience because it offers complimentary Wi-Fi and seatback TV screens for every passenger.
Spirit Airlines was at the bottom of the list but won the title of best U.S. airline for cost.
"All of the categories are important, but ultimately, we weighted reliability slightly higher than others," Nick Ewen, director of content at The Points Guy, told CNBC Make It.
"It doesn't really matter if an airline has a great inflight product, fantastic lounges, or a lucrative frequent flyer program," he said. If the airline can't reliably get you (and your bags) to a destination on time, that can negate any of those other elements."
The best U.S. airline of 2022: Delta
According to The Points Guy report, Delta scored 70.43/100, with the highest scores coming from customer satisfaction, lounges, and involuntary bumps. The only category Delta lacked a high score in was affordability.
"The consistency Delta offers is one of the biggest things. Even though they've had some operational challenges over the last few years, those have frequently been isolated incidents, as they regularly score in the top three," Ewen said. "It has very well-regarded lounges and solid onboard features, and it frequently scores well in customer satisfaction, ancillary fees, and loyalty."
Southwest landed in second place, with its top-performing categories being bag/change fees, award availability, and customer satisfaction. It was also the top performer in award availability because of its Rapid Rewards program. The lowest-performing areas included timeliness and cancellations.
- Delta Air Lines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Allegiant Air
- Spirit Airlines
According to The Points Guy report, the top three carriers on the list didn't change from last year's roundup.
United, which landed in third place, won recognition for having the best reach since it offers service to over 231 domestic airports. The airline also topped The Points Guy report for the best frequent flyer rewards. United provides the most number of partner airlines, four personal credit card options, and no mileage expiration as part of its perks.