Drumroll, please – although a drumroll would suggest a surprise is coming. It’s not. According to a new Condé Nast poll, the best U.S. airline is the same one they’ve been voting into first place for the past eight years. The top international carrier is also familiar.
Is the best airline the cheapest airline? Sometimes. But you’ll only know for sure by comparing airfares.
Best Airlines in the U.S. – Poll
More than 128,000+ took part in Condé Nast’s 28th annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey (which also covers resorts, hotels, cruise lines, and more) and here is their top five U.S. airlines.
Note: Numbers represent the carriers’ overall score by readers; descriptions in quotes are from Condé Nast.
1. Virgin America: 81.726
Virgin America impressed voters with “customer service and a classy upfront product; expanded flights now include routes between Dallas and Las Vegas with leather seats and power outlets” but don’t forget Virgin America’s “hipness factor” which may be hard to define but you know it when you see it.
2. JetBlue: 75.433
JetBlue did well in part because of its “10-inch seatback screens offering DirectTV, plus generous legroom (more than the average), and unlimited free snacks.” Never underestimate the power of free food.
3. Hawaiian: 72.583
Those polled appreciated “Hawaiian touches like welcome mai tais and guava cookies, but they also raved about the reliability.” It is reliable but then again the airline rarely runs into snow delays on the islands.
4. Southwest: 70.086
Southwest “stands out from the pack with low, easy-to-understand fares and policies like two free checked bags.” It is now the only U.S. airline to offer any free checked-bags .
5. Alaska: 69.453
Voters liked Alaska’s “friendly attendants, comfortable seating, and a guarantee that you’ll have your checked bags within 20 minutes of your plane arriving at the gate.” We like that, too.
Best International Airlines – Poll
Singapore Airlines nailed this one. In second and third place: Middle East carriers Emirates and Qatar Airways. Alas, no U.S. carrier cracked the top twenty in this category.