So, you’ve decided to go on an adventure somewhere but, before you book a place to stay or build your itinerary, you need to buy the plane tickets. There are many options and every airline seems to say they’re “the best”. However, that simply isn’t true. There is no one best airline for every flight.
If you are the kind of person who only flys one airline for every occasion, you are probably LOSING money (most likely for no reason).
Here’s a tip: Don’t rely on Expedia, Travelocity or Cheap-o-air for comparing flight costs. Airlines like Southwest, Virgin, Allegiant, etc. are often times not displayed and you may mistakingly buy a more expensive ticket with an airline that offers less.
I put together a list of, in my opinion, the best U.S. airlines to fly and the best situations in which to fly them.
Perks to flying Virgin:
- The cabins are up-to-date, meaning black leather seats in Economy, charging ports for every passenger on board, and the in-flight entertainment is amazing.
- Great snacks (from local San Francisco retailers), and they offer meals for purchase!
- They are also known for great customer service and non-robotic flight attendants with a sense of humor.
When to fly with Virgin:
- Best for flights from the U.S. to Central America and the Caribbean.
- Best for flights to California as their hubs are in SanFran and LA, they offer exceptionally good prices to their hubs.
Airline Equality Score: 7/10
(This Airline is currently planning to merge with Alaska in 2019)
Perks to flying Jetblue:
- The cabin seats are comfy. This airline specifically has the most legroom in coach (out of all other US airlines).
- Great Free Snacks, forget the peanuts and stale pretzels, Jetblue offers Cheeze-its, Popcorners, cookies and more.
- I find their customer service incredible. They are friendly and accommodating even in stressful situations, (like when, due to weather, all flights out of Boston were delayed HOURS).
- In-flight entertainment is amazing (Recently released movies, classics, etc.)
- Also, they are the only airline with free high-speed Wi-Fi at every seat.
- Boarding Process is the smoothest, most efficient thing I have ever experienced. I am convinced every airline should follow Jetblue’s model. They board from the back rows to the front rows, MEANING that the 30-50 minute boarding process is reduced to around 15 minutes!
When to fly Jetblue:
- Best for Flights to New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), Florida (FLL or MCO), or California (LGB). These five airports are their hubs and if you are flexible with your flight dates, you can find a pretty good deal.
- They also offer great prices flying from the U.S. (specifically Fort Lauderdale) to Central America and the Caribbean.
Airline Equality score: 6/10
Perks to flying Alaska:
- Customer Service is known to be accommodating and kind.
- Seats are comfy and, like Virgin, you’ll find black leather seats in coach, charging ports for every passenger, and in-flight entertainment.
- Alaska offers Free Chat (free inflight messaging) which can be useful if you are coordinating pickup from the airport or if you are awaiting an important message.
When to fly Alaska:
- Best for flights to Alaska, Seattle, and Portland which are their hubs, typically, they offer great prices to these locations.
- Alaska often has good prices to Hawaii as well.
Airline Equality Score: 7/10
(Set to merge with Virgin in 2019)
Perks to flying Southwest:
- Value: Southwest offers great prices and there are no bag fees and no change fees. Your carry-on flys free, up-to-two checked bags fly free, and if you decide you wanna catch an earlier flight home, you can WITHOUT A FEE.
- Southwest is known for their hospitality and often exceed customer’s expectations.
- The seats are comfy, offer leg-room and, on longer flights, they offer in-flight entertainment.
When to fly Southwest:
- Best when you are going on a longer trip and/or planning on taking two-checked bags.
- Southwest has many hubs: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Oakland, Orlando, and Phoenix–Sky Harbor. They offer great prices to these locations but also others. I check Southwest for almost every trip I go on, and often times the price is equal to or lower than the competition.
Airline Equality Score: 6/10
SPIRIT AND FRONTIER
Perks to flying Spirit and/or Frontier:
- PRICE: these are budget airlines and the base fares are incredibly low.
- Decent Customer Service: Every flight I have taken with Spirit and Frontier was okay in terms of customer service.
When to fly Spirit or Frontier:
- Best for domestic flights, shorter trips, with VERY little luggage. If you’re a light traveler, comfortable without all of the ‘extras’ most airlines provide, flying Spirit or Frontier can save you hundreds on flight tickets. A ticket with them solely entails getting you and a small personal item from point A to point B.
- Warning: If you are not the kind of traveler mentioned above beware of fees: $30 for a carry-on suitcase, $40 to check a bag, $110-to change a flight, $10 for Spirit to print a boarding pass (Just print at home, or use a mobile boarding pass), $1–50-to pick a seat (let them pick a seat for you), $1–15-for snacks and drinks (bring a water bottle), etc. (all fees are approximates)
Airline Equality Score: 3/10
Any tips to add? What’s your favorite airline to fly?