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Best and worst airlines of 2023 revealed: Which one hit rock bottom?

A new ranking shows the best and worst airlines in the U.S.
A new ranking shows the best and worst airlines in the U.S.

Is your favorite carrier in the no-fly zone?

The Wall Street Journal released its listing of the nine best and worst airlines in the U.S. for 2023 in a ranking that’s seen some shakeups since the year prior.

The last-place airline blames its futility on New York City airports facing notable challenges with weather and air traffic.

For a third year running, Delta was crowned top gun with an industry-high 83% on-time arrival rate, in addition to the lowest level of recorded complaints.

It also reduced cancellations from nearly 2% to 1.2% in the prior 12 months.

The silver medalist was Alaska Airlines, which gained recent infamy after a door plug blew off one of the airline’s flights as passengers gripped their seats for dear life.

However, that incident was not accounted for on the list.

A new ranking shows the best and worst airlines in the U.S. 06photo – stock.adobe.com
A new ranking shows the best and worst airlines in the U.S. 06photo – stock.adobe.com
Delta was crowned the best U.S. airline for the third year in a row. REUTERS
Delta was crowned the best U.S. airline for the third year in a row. REUTERS

Instead, Alaska was lauded for strong on-time arrivals, an industry-leading, below 1% cancellation rate and might have surpassed Delta if not for a lagging score of seventh-worst out of the nine airlines in baggage handling.

Southwest took the fourth spot because of a barrage of customer complaints that sullied travelers in the early winter of 2023. It was recently fined $140 million over the complete meltdown.

United Airlines dipped two spots to sixth compared to 2022 because of bad bag handling and not enough of an improvement in cancellations.

Worst of the worst

JetBlue tanked as the worst airline in the U.S. for a third straight year. REUTERS
JetBlue tanked as the worst airline in the U.S. for a third straight year. REUTERS

As for the bottom feeder, JetBlue placed nine out of nine for the third year in a row, according to the Journal, coming in last in four categories: on-time arrivals, cancellations, delays of more than 45 minutes and tarmac delays.

The airline — which had a measly on-time arrival rate of 66.4% — was quick to point a finger at the weather around New York airports, plus alleged mismanagement of air traffic control.

“We have the highest level of exposure to New York of any airline, and that continues to make an apples-to-apples comparison with other carriers difficult,” a spokeswoman told the Journal.

New rankings reveal the best and worst airlines in the U.S. tan4ikk – stock.adobe.com
New rankings reveal the best and worst airlines in the U.S. tan4ikk – stock.adobe.com

The airlines ranked for 2023

  • Delta

  • Alaska

  • Allegiant

  • Southwest

  • American

  • United

  • Spirit

  • Frontier

  • JetBlue