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Ranking Airlines

Recently The Wall Street Journal issued their 2022 year end rankings for the major US airlines. Like most rankings it is worthless and completely subjective based on whatever criteria used.

As a former long time flyer I have my list and it is based on how easy it was for me to travel. My needs as a frequent business traveler are completely different than the family that takes one vacation a year to go the worlds happiest place, Cleveland to see Grandma and Grandpa.

The WSJ list is:

9- Jet Blue

8- Frontier

7- Spirit

6- American

5- Allegiant

4- United

3- Southwest

2- Alaska

1- Delta

Immediately I knew this list was worthless because they had Delta as the best and nowhere on earth are they even close to being the best. My list looks completely different.

First, Jet Blue, Frontier, Spirit, Allegiant, and Southwest don't even get ranked because I have never flown any of them and will never fly any of them because I don't trust them to get me anywhere and back. Also, they usually fly out of secondary airports and I am not going to drive an hour to another airport to save $40 in airfare. If you are willing to, and you have, then you deserve to be stranded in Jackson, Mississippi with no hotel close by and no way to return home for four days.

So, lets get to the others. I always enjoyed flying Alaska Airlines when I covered the West Coast. Their planes were clean, they were on time, and the personnel were friendly and welcoming. But they only fly in limited areas so my use for them was infrequent. I would not, not fly them today, but it would need to be to a specific location that they served fully.

Now we get to the real meat of this, the big three airlines. I know my frequent flying friends have their own opinions that may differ from mine but, as you are all well aware, I don't care what others think because they are frequently wrong or misguided.

3- American Airlines - This airline has two special services, they never have a clue what gate their flights are taking off from, and they love cancelling flights at the last minute if there are not enough people flying that day. I flew many flights in over 35 years of major travel and no airline cancelled more flights on me than American. I would have as many as four cancellations in one week of travel. This caused quite a mess when going to five cities in four days of business travel. I would drive before taking them today. Not to mention changing gates eleven times in thirty minutes.

2- Delta Airlines - This airlines has possibly the most inept and rude staff of any airline in the world. As an example, when they cancelled a flight back to Chicago on me they told me it would take up to two days for them to find another flight to book me on because I was not one of their priority passengers. They said this to my face like it was OK. I was stunned. It was then I decided they would never get one more of my dollars and I have never flown them since. Instead I called these guys and they got me on a flight back to Chicago in one hour.

1- United Airlines - Like every other airline they have occasional issues but most of their problems usually stem from weather related problems and I won't hold them accountable for that stuff. They are almost always helpful, friendly, and professional and I can't ask for anything more than that from an airlines. In the 30+ years of flying them, mostly exclusively, they cancelled only five flights on me. That is a pretty good record and it is one of the reasons they retain my loyalty to this day. Compare that record to American that does that weekly.

The good news for me is that I almost never fly anymore and I could not be happier. I don't miss the crowds, the screaming kids, the irate passengers, or the chaos that has become air travel today. When I do rarely fly I do miss the perks of being a Premier flyer but for the one flight every two years I'll suffer.

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