New Airline Ranking Considers Pet Passengers

To determine the best airline of 2018, analysts considered a new factor: our furrier travel companions.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: April 06, 2018
To say that air travel has caused a lot of sensational headlines this year would be an understatement. To help consumers make more informed decisions when choosing an airline to fly with, Wallethub analysts compared the nine largest U.S. airlines and two regional carriers on 13 key metrics.

The 2018 best airlines list is a bit different from previous years, however, and now includes a focus on furrier travel companions. While the 2017 list of best airlines focused on four broad categories — price, convenience, headaches and extras — this year’s list focuses only on three: baggage, departures and complaints; in-flight comfort and cost; and animal incidents.

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Could this be because of the stories that made headlines this year? Most likely. Twenty-four animals died during air transportation in 2017, and four major U.S. airlines were held responsible.

It’s been a tough year for the airline industry, but hopefully, with reviews and improvements of current pet travel programs, customers and their pets will receive better experiences in the air.

Here are the best airlines of 2018.

11. Spirit Airlines
Cheapest Airline: Neck-and-neck with Frontier Airlines, Spirit offers the best price for budget flyers.
 
10. Frontier Airlines

9. Southwest Airlines
Least Complained-About Airline: Southwest has the lowest consumer-complaint rate in 2017, while Spirit Airlines had the most by far.

8. JetBlue Airlines
Most Comfortable Airline: JetBlue offers the best in-flight experience, with free amenities such as Wi-Fi, extra legroom, and complimentary snacks and beverages.

7. United Airlines

6. American Airlines

4. Skywest Airlines

3. Hawaiian Airlines
Best Airline for Pets: Hawaiian is by far the best airline for pets this year. The airline transports the most pets overall, and compared with its competitors has the least number of pet-related incidents.

2. Delta Airlines
Most Reliable Airline: Delta has the lowest rate of cancelations, delays, mishandled luggage and denied boardings.

1. Alaska Airlines
Best Airline Overall
 

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