Best Airlines In America

Virgin America Airlines
Virgin America

When it came to travel I was lucky to be from New York City. I had my choice of three airports – LaGuardia, Newark and JFK. LaGuardia (LGA)was closest to me but I rarely flew from there because it was the hub for American Airlines and they didn’t fly direct everywhere I wanted. I only fly direct when possible. JFK (JFK) always felt so far away and even if it wasn’t that I didn’t bother heading that way.

Newark (EWR) was the airport I flew out of most. That made United (then Continental) my main airline because Newark airport is their hub. I had a love/hate relationship with Continental. The flights were generally bad (service, comfort, etc.) but they were so frequent and inexpensive that they were usually my choice. When the two airlines merged service when from bad to really bad. The last time I flew United is when I left the east coast.

United/Continental have dominated my air travel but I’ve dabbled with other airlines and when Consumer Reports released their Top 10 List of airlines in America I had to agree with all of it from experience and hearsay.

1. Virgin America, 89
2. Southwest Airlines, 85
3. JetBlue Airways, 85
4. Hawaiian Airlines, 82
5. Alaska Airlines, 81
6. Frontier Airlines, 78
7. Delta Air Lines, 71
8. US Airways, 66
9. American Airlines, 66
10. United Airlines, 63
(11. Spirit Airlines, 50)

I’ve flown the majority of these airlines and this list seems fairly accurate. I’d rank American higher but not sure I’d really argue much about shifting the bottom side of this list. I’ve never seen or heard a positive thing about Spirit Air and 50 out of 100 on this scale seems a bit high.

I flew Virgin America for the first time last year and found it to be the most pleasant flying experience I’ve ever had. Between wifi, great service, outlets for charging and comfortable seating the flight was amazing. Flying Virgin America is how all air travel should be. I just wish they flew direct everywhere.

Southwest from Las Vegas (LAS) may not be as nice as Virgin but my first experience with them was also fantastic. I’m IMing with a friend back east while I write this and think I’ve decided to fly Southwest back east on my next trip. I’d prefer Virgin America since I can wifi throughout the trip but Southwest is a fine second option.

It’s unfortunate that neither Virgin or Southwest airlines has many direct flights to Las Vegas from east coast cities because they are airlines that I know my friends would like and prefer to their “legacy carriers”, which you’ll notice are all on the bottom half of this list.

Have a favorite airline?

Heads Up For Southwest Passengers

I’ve never flown Southwest, but that day will come soon as they are one of the cheaper flights in and out of Las Vegas. With Newark (EWR) or Laguardia being my home airports I flew almost exclusively through Continental since EWR is a hub for Continental and they had the most direct flights across the country. I know many of you fly Southwest to Vegas, so I figure this is worth a gander.

I don’t pay as much attention to travel blogs any more since I’m settled down here and don’t see much travel in the near future. Elliot.org is one of the blogs I keep an eye on because they are always keep an eye on customer service and are consumer evangelists. They recently posted an article warning “Don’t wait too long to ask Southwest Airlines for a refund” discussing what to do if you lose a ticket.

Interesting. So even though a representative told Travia he needed to wait a year, he would have had to apply for the refund within six months. That’s good to know.

There’s a lesson in here for all of us. Like any other business, airlines don’t want to keep credit on their books indefinitely. Vouchers and ticket credit do expire, and once they’re gone, you can’t get them back.

Even if you’re dealing with Southwest Airlines.

Bottom line here is don’t lose your airplane ticket. Second bottom line here is to set a reminder to call for a refund every 5 months no matter what the airline tells you.

Read the article for complete details on what Travia went through with his lost ticket. This is by no means meant to trash on Southwest, but it’s a heads up on what to do if you lose your ticket.