Real People Reveal the Best U.S. Airline They’ve Ever Flown

Tampa, Florida, skyline with warm sunset light with a commercial passenger jet airline

Some airlines offer more enjoyable flying experiences than others. | mokee81/iStock/Getty Images

There’s nothing quite like an enjoyable flying experience. And the people to go to for advice on the best airlines are real people. They log hundreds or thousands of miles in the sky and know which airline deserves to be called “the best.” Keep reading to see which airline they love the most.

The scoring system

Travel + Leisure readers rate each airline based on five categories. The categories include cabin comfort, service, food, customer service, and value, according to Travel + Leisure. Readers have the opportunity to cast votes for a period of four months. Each reader may only cast one vote.

Hint: Perks set airlines above the rest.

Carriers focus on the customer

flight attendant

Customers appreciate the carriers that go the extra mile to cater to them. | Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Of all the airlines customers rank as, “the best,” each one goes the extra sky mile. The carriers provide superior customer service to their passengers, which is primarily how each carrier gets a spot on this list as one of the best domestic airlines in the country. The carriers also have certain perks fliers enjoy.

Hint: Get a deal flying with this carrier.

5. Southwest

Southwest Airlines

Passengers like the price. | Rypson/iStock/Getty Images

“Southwest offers flexibility and no hidden costs,” a voter said. “You can check two bags free of charge, there are no change fees, and the flights are STILL economical.” Southwest also ranks high because of their frequent-flier program.

Hint: This airline offers free meals.

4. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus

Customers appreciate the free meals. | Boarding1Now/iStock/Getty Images

Hawaiian Airlines still serves passengers free meals. There’s no need to eat a quick meal at the airport. A refreshing move when most food and drink costs money on other carriers. The carrier is also known for their great frequent-flier program.

Hint: Earn tons of miles with this loyalty program.

3. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines

Passengers like the loyalty program. | KGrif/iStock/Getty Images

Alaska Airlines is known for their loyalty program, Mileage Plan, where passengers earn one mile for every mile flown, according to their website. The carrier’s continued growth has increased their popularity so much that Alaska Airlines will soon acquire Virgin America.

Hint: Don’t worry about food allergies with this airline.

2. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airbus

The airline has some considerate perks. | Boarding1Now/iStock/Getty Images

Again, another airline scores major points with fliers for customer service. JetBlue’s Mint premium cabin service offers passengers massage chairs which fully recline. The airline “goes the extra mile for passengers with food allergies by serving nut-free and gluten-free choices,” a voter said. “A serious plus when you travel with children.”

Hint: The best airline in America is owned by a British man.

1. Virgin America

Virgin America Airbus

Passengers enjoy the comfort. | Digitalmediapro/iStock/Getty Images

“As far as I’m concerned this is the only airline to fly in the U.S.,” one voter said. “It has style and it’s fun.” Passengers enjoy the carrier’s “comfortable leather seats, calming mood lighting, high-definition seatback entertainment, and healthy food,” according to Travel + Leisure. Virgin America knows what they’re doing because this marks the 10th year of being first on the list.

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Read more: I Spent 13 Hours Flying on the Best Airline in the World. Here’s What It’s Like