What are the Best — and Worst — Airlines of 2018?

Business, Lifestyle
Reading Time: 2 minutes

WalletHub is at it again with its annual survey of the “best and worst” airlines.  It had the usual suspects, particularly on the bottom with Frontier and Spirit Airlines.  United took another hit as well, but no where near the bottom, which is surprising to most observers.

In a statement WalletHub stated:

“Traveling by plane costs an average of $370 per trip. And choosing the wrong airline has the potential to take even more from us. For instance, 24 animals died during air transportation in 2017, and four major U.S. airlines had at least one pet fatality.

“While critical to consider, such factors often fly under the radar due to our focus on price. But finding the cheapest airfare is now quite easy for anyone with an internet connection. So this report examines those other, overlooked aspects of air travel to help consumers make more-informed decisions.

“WalletHub compared the 9 largest U.S. airlines, plus two regional carriers, in 13 important categories. They range from cancellation and delay rates to baggage mishaps and in-flight comfort. We also considered costs in relation to in-flight amenities for the sake of fairness. For example, it wouldn’t be right to penalize an airline that charges for drinks if its tickets are far cheaper than those from an airline with free in-flight refreshments.”

Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business Show (and Editor at Large of USABR) and a frequent airline traveler, weighed in on the subject in an interview.  “I use Spirit more than any other airline.  I have long been a $9 club member and am astonished how great a value it is.  I have had one cancellation among many successful trips, and that was due to Hurricane Maria in 2017.  Most of the time, my flights arrive early and the flight crew and other employees are always professional and courteous.  I love paying for every part as I go and because of the techniques I use in travel, I pay around 20 percent of the average price used in the WalletHub research.”  Now, Spirit offers complete packages — choice of seats, certain number of bags, etc. — that still keep them well below the competitors, especially for $9 Club member.  The $9 Club is $50 a year and one usually gets all their money back and then some booking a single trip. In addition, Price said, “I cannot believe United did not take a harder hit on the scoring.  It may have fared better in individual categories, but it has to largely be considered one of the worst brands in any industry — not just aviation.”
See the breakdown of how each airline performed here

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