Other airlines are taking similar steps to ensure clean, disinfected cabins. Below is a sortable list of the world's largest airlines ranked by the amount of passengers. In the past, using these would invoke a host of restrictions, but many airlines have loosened the reins in light of the pandemic. First, it rated poorly for refunds, implementing (and then back-tracking on) a schedule change policy at odds with DOT requirements. It’s worth noting that the scores above don’t guarantee that you’ll have a flawless experience with Delta during the pandemic, nor does it definitively prove that you’ll have a poor one with Spirit. Contrast that flexibility with Frontier Airlines and its comparatively strict policy for changing existing tickets; if you cancel a flight, the normal cancellation fee is waived, but you’ll only retain the value of your ticket by rebooking within 90 days of canceling. It has rolled out “fogging” treatments to disinfect the interiors of its fleet, including one with an “antimicrobial product” that the airline says kills bacteria and viruses on contact for up to 30 days. This is a list of North America's largest passenger airlines in terms of enplaned passengers. As a result of the pandemic, airlines have been forced to implement notable changes to their cleaning procedures to minimize the risk of travelers contracting COVID-19 onboard. Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. First, it devalued the rate at which you’d earn Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) when flying on partner airlines. The use of HEPA filters, which are utilized across their respective fleets. Leading on top, three of the biggest US airlines: Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines. Office of Aviation Analysis 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE Washington, DC 20590 United States. It also made two notable, negative changes to its MileagePlus loyalty program — changing earning rates and removing award charts for partner airlines — at the height of the pandemic, resulting in a fall to the sixth spot. In fact, if you bought your Delta ticket before April 17, 2020, and had planned to travel between March and September of 2020, Delta will even waive the fare difference when you rebook to the same destination before Sept. 30. American Airlines has airline tickets, cheap flights, vacation packages and American Airlines AAdvantage bonus mile offers at aa.com Decorating the American skies with distinct designs, the jets of Frontier Airlines, … Complete guide to airline elite status during the coronavirus outbreak, Why airlines and hotels should tread lightly when changing loyalty programs, What’s it like to fly during a pandemic? Frontier Airlines 6. View our latest valuations here. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Allegiant Air takes the eight spot, largely due to superior ticketing policies from its low-cost-carrier rivals: It waived change and cancellation fees and gave vouchers from canceled reservations a two-year period of validity. American limits this to once every seven days but purports to use a product that “provides continued, seven-day protection against against bacteria, mold and viruses” — including the strain that causes COVID-19. However, the frequency and potency of these methods aren’t as clear. The population of North America is approximately 565 million, and is home to some of the largest airlines in the world due to the high demand. Spirit Airlines has taken some notable steps to protect passengers during the pandemic, especially related to ticketing. This is a list of the largest airlines in North America. Frontier Airlines. Link to TripSavvy Homepage. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. The largest airline in the US regarding the number of annual passengers is the American Airlines. Alaska Airlines 2. Most flight credits have been extended for two years, and even though refund processing time wasn’t great, the carrier was offering 20% in extra value for accepting a credit instead of a refund. On the low-cost-carrier side of things, Spirit announced that it was extending mileage expiration, but Frontier hasn’t published any adjustments to its loyalty program, while Allegiant’s is limited to credit cardholders. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. It’s even temporarily closed down check-in kiosks and significantly modified boarding procedures, but United falls short in two major areas. As a result, these three carriers all scored much lower than their counterparts in this category. Then, it removed its published award chart for Star Alliance partners — and raised prices by up to 10% the very next day. Paul New York-JFK New York-LaGuardia Salt Lake City Meanwhile, Spirit’s website indicates that electrostatic cleaning devices are only being implemented in “high-traffic airports” — with no mention of use onboard. Delta Airlines 4. Stuck with a voucher or travel credit due to a canceled trip? RELATED: 6 ways to pay without touching anything. Many airlines are now providing cleaning supplies to passengers, Southwest vs Allegiant: What it’s like to fly a low-cost airline during a pandemic. Southwest also continues to restrict capacity on flights through at least Sept. 30, 2020, and received the fewest complaints from passengers (as reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation). Phone: (202) 366-9721 TTY / Assistive Device Number: (800) 877-8339 Business Hours: 8:30am-5:00pm ET, M-F Delta Air Lines: DL DAL DELTA Atlanta-Hartsfield Boston-Logan Detroit Los Angeles Minneapolis/St. TPG’s editorial team carefully reviewed published policies, as well as real-time reports, to score each airline across these elements, ultimately arriving at a total score out of 20 for each of the five broad categories. Horizon Air is a regional low-cost airline that serves 52 cities in the United States, Canada and … Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of its members to shape crucial policies and measures that promote safety, security and a healthy U.S. airline industry. Southwest also gets credit for creativity here, as passengers are being allowed to convert existing (or new) travel funds into Rapid Rewards points — though it’s also extended the validity of those funds through Sept. 7, 2022. Some carriers even added bonuses when you accept a travel credit rather than a refund — TPG staffers found that American and JetBlue, for example, were offering 20% of additional value in an effort to maintain positive cash flow. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. Founded as American Airways and commenced operations in 1936 as American Air Lines; largest airline in the world based on airline company revenue, scheduled passenger miles flown (per year), and fleet size. These two airlines are taking care to limit passenger and flight attendant interactions and have also reconfirmed their commitment to reduced capacity. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Let’s begin with the overall scores for the 10 airlines (out of a total possible score of 100) across the five categories we considered (view our full methodology below). Many others have implemented similar boarding updates, including Frontier (back-to-front), Hawaiian (by row), JetBlue (by row, back-to-front), Southwest (10 at a time) and United (fewer customers and back-to-front by row). Hawaiian Airlines has implemented a number of important procedures to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including modified boarding/deplaning and blocked middle seats. In addition, Hawaiian suffers from ticketing issues, including the implementation (and then pull-back) of a punitive schedule change policy that drew a rebuke from the DOT. Aruba. United Airlines earns high scores for cleaning procedures, partnering with both Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to ensure its approach (like electrostatic spraying before every flight) reduces the risk of virus transmission as much as possible. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. JetBlue Airways excels with its onboard scores, as it continues to block middle seats through Sept. 8, 2020 and has adjusted in-flight service procedures to ensure customer safety. Southwest Airlines’ pre-existing change and cancellation policies — no fees on any ticket — have always been generous, but by extending travel funds and offering conversions to points, it took home high marks in the ticketing department. RELATED: Why airlines and hotels should tread lightly when changing loyalty programs. READ MORE: In-flight service is resuming — here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight. The vast majority of these — nearly 95% — related to refunds, and we evaluated how many complaints customers submitted against each airline (per 100,000 passengers enplaned). The carrier’s use of electrostatic spraying extends to Delta’s gate areas and jet bridges as well, helping create a sanitized space throughout a large portion of the pre- and post-flight process. In addition, boarding has been back-to-front since April 10 (Delta was the first airline to go in this direction) — with no more than 10 customers at a time. Virtually all airlines are encouraging touch-free transit by promoting their respective apps and mobile boarding passes, with United even shutting down its check-in kiosks temporarily. United used a similar two-year approach for electronic travel certificates if you voluntarily canceled a ticket affected by the pandemic. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. Notes. Ranked are airlines with more than 10 million passengers annually. Leading the way in this category was Southwest, as its flexible travel policies — no change or cancellation fees on any ticket, even outside a pandemic — are tailor-made for these uncertain times. Delta continues to restrict loads through Sept. 30 (50% in first class, 60% in economy), while JetBlue will block middle seats on larger aircraft and aisle seats on smaller ones through at least Sept. 8. Alaska is the latest, Alaska Airlines to reopen most lounges on August 1: What you need to know, Finally: JetBlue extends Mosaic elite status and more, In-flight service is resuming — here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight, American removes capacity caps, increases health safety measures, American Airlines extends free change and cancellation policy, Southwest extends Companion Pass, elite status benefits into 2021, These airlines have been the worst — and best — about refunds, United’s ‘CleanPlus’ initiative includes enhanced cleaning, pre-packaged food and more, United to notify passengers of crowded flights, offer free changes, Hawaiian Airlines becomes latest US carrier to backtrack on strict refund policy, Sanitizer with your Stroopwafel? We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Featured image by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy, Additional reporting by Benji Stawski, Stella Shon, Brian Kim and Zach Griff, Design and development work by Jill Bressler, Orli Friedman and Amanda Donnelly-Rankin, CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners. May 2: Hawaiian extends elite status and lowers qualification requirements for 2020. The Points Guy will not sell your email. United Airlines 5. Spirit Airlines 8. As a result, TPG’s annual report on the best airlines in the U.S. will take a different format this year. It also uses a number of enhanced cleaning procedures, including thorough disinfecting after every transpacific flight. We work collaboratively with airlines, labor, Congress, the Administration and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public. READ MORE: We got an inside look at how Delta is cleaning planes between every flight. Bahamas ... United States of America. *Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. United Airlines was a meandering giant through most of the … You can scroll to the end of this post for complete details on the methodology we used, but let’s dive deeper into each category. That’s in sharp contrast to Alaska Airlines, which launched (and then extended) a 50% bonus on elite-qualifying miles for flights and the ability to earn EQMs through credit card spending — and even extended status for those participating in the carrier’s status challenge program. The other side of the pandemic will see an eventual return to the skies. Finally, the carrier has made no announcements related to its Frontier Miles program, earning it a zero in supporting loyal customers. In addition, Frontier imposed relatively strict policies to retain the value of canceled tickets booked on or before April 15, requiring rebooking within 90 days. Although American is aware of various state laws that allow recreational or medical marijuana possession, the TSA has stated that possession of marijuana, even medical marijuana, is illegal under federal law and that it will refer passengers traveling with marijuana to law enforcement authorities. It even had a rate of DOT complaints that was lower than both JetBlue and United. Many of the largest airlines in North America have been in existence for more than 90 years. The Largest Airlines In The United States American Airlines. United’s CleanPlus initiative is a partnership with Clorox, while the Cleveland Clinic is advising the carrier on it’s enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures. It is a title the carrier has held for five consecutive years since 2013. Frontier is now screening passengers’ temperatures, a first in the US, CEO chat: Frontier bucks pandemic trend with growth, but says masks are a must, What’s it like to fly during a pandemic? For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel. 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. It simply means that the published measures being taken aren’t as significant as higher-scoring ones. For passengers, the experience of traveling during the coronavirus pandemic starts on the ground, with significant modifications to check-in and boarding processes as well as lounge access. It’s also worth noting that most airlines — including Alaska, Southwest and United — are making masks available to those who don’t have one. READ MORE: Which U.S. airlines are blocking middle seats and requiring masks? ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This is a list of North America's largest passenger … 11.25.20 smartbrief US airlines focus on Mexico, Caribbean; United adds flights 11.25.20 smartbrief Salt Lake City airport rebuild ahead of schedule 11.25.20 smartbrief UPS gears up … Be it adjusting elite status programs or implementing new cleaning procedures or issuing refunds, the airlines have had their hands full. But even here, Spirit has enacted cleaning treatments meant to help with safety during the pandemic. See, We got an inside look at how Delta is cleaning planes between every flight, No mask? TPG’s exclusive analysis shows that some have handled the last few months better than others, with Delta, Alaska and JetBlue earning the top three spots and Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit bringing up the rear (in that order). Ever since the coronavirus exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, airlines have implemented various policies related to customer tickets — covering existing flights booked pre-pandemic as well as new reservations. Contact Us. These legacy carriers have been around since the … READ MORE: What’s it like to fly during a pandemic? All of the carriers are now mandating masks for passengers, with Delta going as far as requiring a virtual consultation with a medical professional before being granted a mask exception. Even low-cost Allegiant was offering vouchers valid for up to two years from the initial reservation. U.S. airlines need to engender loyalty during the tough times to ensure they’re well-positioned in the good times, so how well are they supporting their loyal flyers right now? Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. List of airlines; List of defunct airlines … Different carriers are using various types of cleaning and a variety of frequencies — and some have even started handing out cleaning supplies for passengers to use. Delta makes a strong showing here as well, permitting many eCredits to be applied to new tickets through Sept. 30, 2022 — over two years from now. Delta has even committed to holding flights if the cabin is deemed not clean enough prior to boarding. The world of air travel today is notably different than 2019, when we last published our report on the best airlines in the U.S. And sadly, with ongoing spread in dozens of states, there’s no telling when we’ll return to normal — though some estimates peg it in years rather than months. https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-airlines-in-north-america-53734 Venezuela. This page gives a list of airline companies in United States, together with their IATA (the International Air Transport Association) code and Callsign. JetBlue 9. Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. Despite being the last of these airlines to extend elite status for loyal travelers, it allowed those members to gift status to a friend or family member — and we’ve seen a handful of other promotions from TrueBlue. Instead, it is limited to once-nightly for intra-island flights. However, electrostatic spraying doesn’t happen before every Hawaiian departure. See also. Annually, commercial aviation… Which U.S. airlines are blocking middle seats and requiring masks? Other airlines — namely American and United — have shifted in the other direction in recent weeks, with American even coming under fire from some health professionals. The Seattle-based carrier was also among the quickest to issue refunds for canceled flights and will continue to restrict capacity by blocking middle seats through at least Sept. 30, 2020. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page. One thing’s for sure, however: All carriers around the world have had to react to this global pandemic, and we almost certainly haven’t seen the end of these changes. However, United takes the cake (and a two-point penalty) for making two negative adjustments to the MileagePlus program at the height of the pandemic. © 2020 THE POINTS GUY, LLC. The United States Department of Transportation defines a major carrier or major airline carrier as a U.S.-based airline that posts more than $1 billion in revenue during a fiscal year, grouped accordingly as "Group III". In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) had to issue stern warnings in order to compel certain carriers to comply with its published policies — most notably United and Hawaiian, both of which implemented (and then walked back) punitive schedule-change policies in an effort to avoid giving refunds. In the true spirit of a low-cost-carrier, Spirit will charge you $3 for a mask (though it is donating the proceeds of these sales to charity through Dec. 31, 2020). Airlines ranked by fleet size (including regional partners). Which US airlines are blocking middle seats? Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Well, based on our exclusive analysis, Delta Air Lines came out as the best in this new COVID-19 age, while discount carrier Spirit Airlines was at the very bottom of our rankings. Finally, the carrier was least likely to be the subject of complaints — just 107 per 100,000 passengers. Activate by 12/31/21. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. We compared 4 different airlines, Deal Alert: Southwest fares as low as $39 one-way or 2,300 points, Passenger numbers surge to pandemic-level highs for Thanksgiving travel, 23 perfect getaways you can book with Marriott Bonvoy points, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.