THE BLOG

Best U.S. Airlines: 2013 Edition

11/11/2013 01:55 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

It's that time of year again. The Airfarewatchdog team has been hard at work crunching numbers to determine the best domestic airlines. (In case you missed last year's rankings, you can see them here.) We took a look at performance in five key areas -- canceled flights, on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, denied boardings, and customer satisfaction -- to determine the best of the best in 2013.

Top Airlines for Overall Performance*

  1. Frontier
  2. Virgin America
  3. JetBlue
  4. Alaska
  5. Southwest
  6. Delta
  7. AirTran
  8. US Airways
  9. American
  10. United
*Rankings determined by combining the airlines' scores in all categories

Fewest Cancelled Flights*

  • Virgin America: 0.16 percent Cancelled
  • Frontier: 0.29 percent Cancelled
  • Delta: 0.42 percent Cancelled
  • Alaska: 0.43 percent Cancelled
  • JetBlue: 0.74 percent Cancelled
  • Southwest: 0.78 percent Cancelled
  • United: 1.27 percent Cancelled
  • US Airways 1.39 percent Cancelled
  • American 1.42 percent Cancelled
  • AirTran 1.52 percent Cancelled
*Based on Department of Transportation (DOT) report on June 2013 flight cancellations at all reportable airports

On-Time Arrivals*

  • Alaska: 87.5 percent On-Time
  • Frontier: 77.9 percent On-Time
  • Delta: 76.1 percent On-Time
  • US Airways: 73.0 percent On-Time
  • Southwest: 72.5 percent On-Time
  • United: 71.1 percent On-Time
  • Virgin America: 70.6 percent On-Time
  • American: 69.8 percent On-Time
  • JetBlue: 69.6 percent On-Time
  • AirTran: 65.9 percent On-Time
*Based on DOT report on June 2013 on-time arrivals at all reportable airports

Fewest Mishandled Bags*

  • Virgin America: 0.95 Mishandled
  • JetBlue: 2.14 Mishandled
  • Frontier: 2.19 Mishandled
  • Delta: 2.78 Mishandled
  • US Airways: 3.09 Mishandled
  • Alaska: 3.50 Mishandled
  • American: 3.59 Mishandled
  • United: 4.06 Mishandled
  • Southwest: 4.23 Mishandled
  • AirTran: 5.19 Mishandled
*Based on DOT report on June 2013 mishandled baggage reports per 1K passengers

Amount of Denied Boardings*

  • JetBlue: 2 Denied
  • Virgin America: 7 Denied
  • Alaska: 32 Denied
  • American: 33 Denied
  • US Airways: 66 Denied
  • Delta: 86 Denied
  • United: 93 Denied
  • AirTran: 136 Denied
  • Frontier: 138 Denied
  • Southwest: 148 Denied
*Based on DOT report on April to June 2013 involuntary denied boardings per 1MM passengers

Customer Satisfaction Score*

  • JetBlue: 83
  • AirTran: 81
  • Southwest: 81
  • Virgin America: 72
  • Alaska: 72
  • Frontier: 72
  • Delta: 68
  • American: 65
  • US Airways: 64
  • United: 62
*Based on June 2013 American Consumer Survey Index scores