The Points Guy Releases Their Top Ten US Airlines for 2021

Published: 08-02-2021
Is your airline a top ten carrier?

While Olympians compete for the gold, US-based airlines compete for their own prize – a number one ranking in customer satisfaction. Popular aviation site The Points Guy has released their top ten US airlines. Does yours make the list?

Of course, this list is made up from a passenger’s perspective, not a pilot’s POV. Nonetheless, as the economy comes soaring back and travel increases, it’ll be interesting to see which airlines can maintain their spots.

The List of Best Airlines

Number one on the list is Delta Airlines, which has kept the top spot for three years in a row. Here’s the full list:

  1. Delta Air Lines

  2. Southwest Airlines

  3. United Airlines

  4. Alaska Airlines

  5. American Airlines

  6. JetBlue Airways

  7. Hawaiian Airlines

  8. Spirit Airlines

  9. Frontier Airlines

  10. Allegiant Air

How Are the Airlines Ranked?

First, we need to acknowledge that this ranking took place from April 2020 to March 21. That places the scoring system right in the middle of the pandemic. While Delta may have, once again, shown consistency, the pandemic may have also shaken up the services offered by other airlines.

The Points Guy further discusses their methodology by breaking up the scoring into several categories.


Reliability makes up 30% of an airline’s score. How often flights were delayed or canceled was the first indicator of reliability. Similarly, if passengers get bumped from one flight to another, that’s a mark against the reliability of an airline. Lost baggage also gets put under the reliability category.

The Travel Experience

The experience of getting a passenger from Point A to Point B makes up the travel experience, which counts for 25% of the total score.

This experience includes cabin features, such as Wi-Fi, as well as comfort, most commonly expressed in seat size. The bigger the better for passengers when it comes to seat width. And if a customer complains to the Department of Transportation, it’s safe to say that the airline will lose a few points in the travel experience category.

The Ease and Cost of Travel

How expansive is the network of various routes and how easily an airline can get you from one place to another makes up 20% of the overall score. Also included in this category is affordability (weighted with Bureau of Transportation Statistics data) and other fees, such as extra baggage.

Another important consideration is just how easy it is to actually fly a given airline to your desired destination — and what it’s going to cost to get you there. This made up 20% of the overall score, and was broken into three separate criteria:

Loyalty Programs

The in-flight experience is important for passengers, but that’s not where the customer journey ends. Many customers appreciate loyalty programs, such as frequent flier miles, which make up 25% of the final score for The Points Guy.


Each score was converted into a number between 0-10 and then divided up into the percentages given.

Interestingly, the top airline Delta wasn’t a big winner in any of the categories. Instead, Delta maintained consistency across almost all categories, pushing it ahead in the overall rankings.

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