Study Ranks the Best and Worst Airlines of 2023

Travelers returned to the skies in a big way in 2023, as air travel finally began to bounce back after the pandemic. Airlines are now pulling out all the stops when vying for passengers, such as expanding premium seating, and the companies' efforts can be seen in the annual ranking of the best and worst airlines by the Wall Street Journal.

For the third year in a row, Delta topped the publication's list, which cited an industry-high 83 percent on-time arrival rate and lowest level of recorded complaints. And following the larger trend which saw flight cancellations in the United States falling to the lowest rate in a decade in 2023, Delta likewise reduced cancellations from nearly two percent in 2022 to 1.2 over the course of the last year.

Alaska Airlines came in second, with ratings coming in before a door plug blowing out on one of its recent flight made headlines. In fact, Alaska Airline could have even surpassed Delta on the list thanks to its strong on-time arrivals and a sub-one percent cancellation rate. However, it scored seventh out of ninth place in baggage handling on the list, bringing down its overall score.

Following Allegiant Air in third place was Southwest in fourth, amid a barrage of bad press in late 2022 stemming from nearly 17,000 canceled flights and countless stranded travelers. The breakdown resulted in a $140 million fine following an in-depth investigation by the the U.S. Department of Transportation last year.

In dead last place was JetBlue, which fell below even budget airlines Spirit and Frontier, in seventh and eighth place, respectively. In addition to an abysmal on-time arrival rate of 66.4 percent, JetBlue managed to receive the lowest scores in cancellations, delays of more than 45 minutes, and tarmac delays.

Though, the airline blamed a variety of extenuating factors for the low ranking, such as weather around New York airports and 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 spokesperson said in a statement to the WSJ.

You can view the best and worst nine ranked airlines, below:

  1. Delta

  2. Alaska

  3. Allegiant Air

  4. Southwest

  5. American Airlines

  6. United Airlines

  7. Spirit

  8. Frontier

  9. JetBlue