I was rather fortunate on my last trip to SE Asia in October. My long flights to get to SE Asian and back were fine, even early. But I ended up taking six short “puddle jumpers” while there, mostly without delay. I considered myself lucky. This is not always the case here in the U.S. A recent survey reveals the best of airlines for delays.
MONEY weighed these factors as well as cancellations and diversions to come up with how the ten largest domestic airlines rank when it comes to sticking to a schedule:
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- American Airlines
- United Airlines
- Allegiant Air
- Frontier Airlines
We use Hawaiian Airlines, both to get to the islands from the mainland, and island hopping. Usually there are no problems or delays. Once in a while, they cancel a flight, but have enough capacity to get passengers from one island to the next with little fanfare or significant delay.
We also fly Alaska Airlines quite frequently, on the west coast, to Seattle mostly, and a little to San Diego or Portland. Alaska might be the best domestic airline, in many ways. They are on time, have better customer service, and tend to have good prices, and good redemption value on miles in their Mileage Plan.
As for the rest? I have stopped using United as my “go to” airline, having cashed out most of my miles over the last few years. I gave American several chances, including international flights, without much success. Their Houston and Dallas hubs are a nightmare. Southwest would be a great addition to our options here in Fresno. I would welcome them, even though I often call them “Southworst” Airlines.
t the bottom of the list should be Allegiant. They fly us from here to Vegas. And though I have had decent luck myself, others have nightmare stories, including all day waiting at the airport (our friend, Doug), smoke in the plane (Colleen’s son, Scott), and sitting on the tarmac without air conditioning (me and most of you!). Everyone has a horror story or three.
I will always choose a foreign airline over a domestic airline whenever I get the chance. But they are far from perfect as well. China Airlines was the worst, followed by Easyjet, and British Airways. I do recall one in Nepal, called Buddha Air, when we had to wait out the fog to fly over Everest. I am glad we waited!
For shorter hops, I often use the train. But delays are inevitable, so be prepared. Bring food and water, and some entertainment, such as music, a book or a chatty travel companion. This is one time Starbucks is actually useful!