The recent trials of American Airlines, the nation’s third largest airline, got us thinking about a few key things an airline can do to score high on reliability: avoid exorbitant extra fees, have its planes show up safely and on time, and make sure that customers are generally satisfied.
To find the most and least reliable major airlines in America, The Daily Beast used data covering the most recent 12-month period available for each category, sourced from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Federal Aviation Administration. We looked at complaints per 100,000 passengers, baggage fees per passenger, reservation cancellation or change fees per passenger, incidents and accidents per 100,000 passengers, and on-time departure and arrival performance. Each category was weighted equally except the fees categories, which were each half-weighted. The airlines are ranked from most to least reliable.