Top 10 U.S. Airlines for COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

Now more than ever, travelers place a premium on airlines that go above and beyond with regard to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. With airport activity picking up and people taking to the skies once again, it's no longer just about getting the best deal and cheapest fare. Luckily, the airline industry has adapted quickly, employing a variety of practices to ensure all travelers can fly with peace of mind.

The latest edition of the Safe Travel Barometer calculates an airline's "Safe Travel Score" based on an exhaustive independent audit. It contemplates health and safety measures, initiatives that focus on traveler convenience, customer service, and the overall travel experience.

Read on for the top 10 North American airlines for health and safety protocols.

Top-Rated Airlines: COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols

10. Spirit Airlines

Low-cost Spirit Airlines might not be known for its customer service, earning just 1/5 for service excellence, but its COVID-19 safety protocols earned it 3.4/5 (note that planes are only disinfected once a day, rather than after every flight). Overall, Spirit's Safe Travel Score clocks in at a solid 3/5, bolstered by its more than respectable 3.8/5 traveler convenience score.

Search for cheap flights on Spirit Airlines.

9. Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines also received a Safe Travel Score of 3/5, boosted by its 3.6/5 score for COVID-19 safety protocols. Unfortunately, Frontier received 0.8/5 when it comes to service excellence; though it somehow managed to score 3.4/5 with regard to traveler convenience. As part of its Committed to You program, Frontier employs a multi-prong approach to plane disinfection, passenger flexibility, and more.

Search for cheap flights on Frontier Airlines.

8. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines scores 3.4/5 with regard to overall safety, a laudable 4/5 for COVID-19 safety protocols, and 3.1/5 for traveler convenience. However, with regard to excellence in service, Hawaiian scores just 1.8/5. The airline recently announced its Pre-Clear Program, which allows eligible travelers to bypass the mandatory airport screening process upon arrival to Hawaii.

Search for cheap flights on Hawaiian Airlines.

7. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines also achieved a Safe Travel Score of 3.4/5 and an impressive 3.8/5 for COVID-19 protocols, thanks in part to its thermal screening procedures, required face masks, and more. An added bonus is the announcement of touch-free options that restrict unnecessary contact between passengers and airline staff, creating a more mindful and reassuring experience. Planes are disinfected after every flight, and high-grade disinfectants are used on critical high-traffic areas, like the toilets.

Search for cheap flights on Alaska Airlines.

6. Allegiant Air

With an overall Safe Travel Score of 3.6/5, Allegiant Air earned 3.9/5 for specific COVID-19 safety measures. At the airport, each passenger receives a complimentary kit with disposable face mask and sanitizing wipes. Allegiant also received high marks for traveler convenience, with a solid 3.8/5 score.

Search for cheap flights on Allegiant Air.

5. United Airlines

United Airlines also received a 3.6/5 overall Safe Travel Score and a superb 4.3/5 for traveler convenience. As for the COVID-19 protocols, United scored a solid 3.9/5 thanks to its approach to a safe in-flight experience for its passengers and all cabin crew. This includes working with brands like Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to maintain the highest hygiene standards possible in its United Clean Plus commitment.

Search for cheap flights on United Airlines.

4. American Airlines

American Airlines received a Safe Travel Score of 3.7/4, with a 4/5 score regarding specific COVID-19 protocols. American was the first airline to achieve GBAC STAR™ Accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council; hospital-grade HEPA filters refresh the cabin air every 2-4 minutes. Special mention should be made for the airline's focus on traveler convenience – it scored 4.7/5.

Search for cheap flights on American Airlines.

3. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue received an overall 3.8/5 Safe Travel Score, with high marks in COVID-19 protocols (4/5) and traveler convenience (4.5/5). Its detailed approach to safety, both on the ground and in the air, can be found on the JetBlue website.

Search for cheap flights on JetBlue Airways.

2. Southwest Airlines

The top-ranked low-cost airline, Southwest earned high marks across the board. Its overall Safe Travel Score of 4/5 reflects its 4.1/5 COVID-19 safety protocol, 3.9/5 traveler convenience, and 3.9/5 service excellence scores. The Southwest Promise initiative employs strict disinfection and other health and safety measures to keep both passengers and crew as safe as possible.

Search for cheap flights on Southwest Airlines.

1. Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines reigns supreme with a Safe Travel Score of 4.1/5. Only Qatar Airways and Emirates outrank Delta when it comes to top-notch safety and service. Delta has extended its blocking of middle seats to respect social distancing measures in addition to its comprehensive approach to safety, flexibility, and customer satisfaction. The airline received a superlative 4.8/5 score for traveler convenience and 3.7/5 for service excellence.

Search for cheap flights on Delta Airlines.

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