Ever since the start of the aviation industry in 1918, commercial airlines have become one of the most flourishing and profitable business in the US. Today, the nation has over 5000 public airports that run thousands of flights everyday.

While choosing an airliner to fly, passengers are primarily concerned with safety. Factors like price, pet policies, weight limits, etc. also influence the decision-making process while booking a flight. 

Today, we've created a list of the 10 best airlines operational in the US in 2024. Commercial airlines are ranked on the basis of the ratings awarded by Tripadvisor.

1. Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has emerged as the unexpected winner of this list. The world's largest low-cost airline has routine flights to 121 locations across 10 countries and the US.

2023 was a particularly profitable year for Southwest as the company managed to generate record revenue and profits. The airline earned over $26.1 billion in 2023, securing a net income of $986 million.

Southwest also carried passengers in record numbers in the last financial year. It successfully transported over 137 million flyers across hundreds of destinations. The airline's brand recognition can be witnessed by the fact that it carried 18.27% of the passengers in the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in 2023.

  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Established: 1967
  • Headquarters: Love Field, Dallas, Texas
  • Average Daily Flights: 4,000
  • No. of Employees: 74,806
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 137 Million
  • Popular Destinations: Belize City, Detroit, Havana, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Montego Bay, Omaha

2. Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines is an American commercial airline that runs scheduled flights to over 1000 airports in 60 countries. This oldest American airline hosts more than 5,400 flights daily and carries over 200 million passengers in a year.

Additionally, Delta also offers a bonus miles program to its regular clients. Under this scheme, passengers are rewarded with specified bonus miles for every trip they take or every dollar they spend at one of Delta's corporate partners. The passengers can take a free flight after accumulating sufficient bonus miles.

  • Rating: 4/5
  • Established: 1925
  • Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Average Daily Flights: 5,400
  • No. of Employees: 100,000
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 200 Million
  • Popular Destinations: Amsterdam, Cancun, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Vancouver

3. Alaska Airlines

Previously considered to be a candidate for the top spot, Alaska Airlines has dropped to the third position after going through a challenging year in 2023. The airline is the former winner of the four WalletHub List awards in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021.

2023 was not a particularly fruitful year for the Alaska Airline as it had the highest number of canceled flights and baggage mishandling complaints. Despite the misfortune, the company has managed to retain most of its customer base using schemes like low flight cost, flexible cancellation policy, comfortable seats, and adequate leg space.

  • Rating: 4/5
  • Established: 1932
  • Headquarters: SeaTac, Washington
  • Average Daily Flights: 970
  • No. of Employees: 22,918
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 40 Million
  • Popular Destinations: Atlanta, Bozeman, Chicago, Havana, Nassau, Toronto, Vancouver

4. Hawaiian Airlines

Owned by Hawaiian Holdings, Hawaiian Airlines takes regular flights all over the world, including Mainland USA, Asia, and Europe. The commercial airliner operates 63 aircrafts that fly to 31 destinations.

Besides being cheap and comfortable, Hawaiian Airlines is also extremely employee-friendly. It provides a variety of benefits and compensation packages that safeguard its employees during difficult times. These benefits usually include travel privileges, medical plans, dental coverage, disability allowance, retirement plans, and more.

  • Rating: 3.5/5
  • Established: 1929
  • Headquarters: Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Average Daily Flights: 260
  • No. of Employees: 7,108
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 9.2 Million
  • Popular Destinations: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo

5. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue is an American airline best known for its low-cost flights. Considered a relatively new player in the market, it was founded in 1998 and became operational in 2000. 

Booking a flight on JetBlue can cost as low as $59, which is significantly lower than other commercial airlines. As per experts, cheap tickets are possible due to the company's emphasis on serving customers on a first come first serve basis. However, some argue that the airline has managed to keep its ticket prices low, despite the inflation, by paying lower wages to its employees.

In addition to its cheap tickets, JetBlue also attracts passengers with its high-quality service and facilities offered aboard the flight.

  • Rating: 3.5/5
  • Established: 1998
  • Headquarters: Queens County, New York
  • Average Daily Flights: 1000
  • No. of Employees: 24,000
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 39.56 Million
  • Popular Destinations: Boston, Dublin, Havana, London, Massachusetts, Orlando, Paris, San Jose

6. United Airlines

United Airlines is one of the busiest commercial airline in the US, carrying over 483,000 passengers daily. The airline hosts nearly 4,500 daily flights that fly to around 200 countries.  

In 2024, United has a total fleet size of 953 aircrafts in its arsenal, among which 898 are operational. The company's active fleet includes:

  1. Airbus A319 (75 Units)
  2. Airbus A320 (83 Units)
  3. Airbus A321 (7 Units)
  4. Boeing 737 (468 Units)
  5. Boeing 757 (58 Units)
  6. Boeing 767 (46 Units)
  7. Boeing 777 (93 Units)
  8. Boeing 787 Dreamliner (68 Units)

United Airlines has a proven track record of punctuality and customer satisfaction. Its employees are trained to handle difficult situations in a friendly and diplomatic manner.

Moreover, the company's aircraft are also equipped with the latest technology. Passengers have access to high-speed Wi-Fi along with contactless methods of paying for drinks and snacks. 

  • Rating: 3/5 (Trip Advisor)
  • Established: 1926
  • Headquarters: Willis Tower, Chicago
  • Average Daily Flights: 4,500
  • No. of Employees: 103,300
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 165 Million
  • Popular Destinations: Barcelona, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Rome, Sydney

7. Spirit Airlines

Spirit is an ultra-low-cost airline that launches regular flights to 15 countries, including the US. The budget airline attracts passengers with its affordable ticket prices, which cost as low as $31 per flight.

Spirit Airlines is best for individuals who make early reservations. If available, always go with the front seats that they are larger than other seats and provide ample space of extra legroom. Another benefit of flying with Spirit is you can choose an alternative payment option.

Under this scheme, passengers will pay a monthly membership fee, instead of purchasing tickets. This program is best suited for regular travelers but may not be the right choice for individuals who rarely fly.

  • Rating: 3/5
  • Established: 1983
  • Headquarters: Miramar, Florida
  • Average Daily Flights: 830
  • No. of Employees: 11,000
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 38.41 Millions
  • Popular Destinations: Atlantic City, Cancun, Dallas, Houston, New York, Panama

8. American Airlines

During its nearly a century of operation, American Airlines has not been free from controversies. From accusations of environmental violations and an incident of fire to complaints of discriminatory practices against African Americans, the airline has managed to constantly remain in the news.

So, why do flyers choose this airline even after so many controversies? It's because, in spite of the many issues that plague the company, the negative publicity only represents a handful of isolated incidents. AA is generally considered safe and customer-friendly.

American Airlines is also gaining wide public support in real time for changing its pet policy. Under the new policy, pet owners will be allowed to take their beloved animal companion in a carry-on luggage. The initiation has won over pet owners all over the US as it ensures a safe and stress-free flying experience for pets.

  • Rating: 3/5
  • Established: 1926
  • Headquarters: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Average Daily Flights: 6,800
  • No. of Employees: 129,700
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 200 Million
  • Popular Destinations: London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Tokyo

9. Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines has been gradually establishing itself as one of the best airlines in the US. However, the company still has a long way to go. In its nearly 30 years of operation, Frontier has expanded its operating bases to locations like Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, Tampa, and more.

In recent years, the airline is aggressively growing its market with over 500 flights a day. The company also recently launched its new aircraft called Rosa, The Pink-Headed Warbler. Additionally, the airline unveiled a new destination, Bora Bora. It will make two scheduled weekly flights to the French Polynesian island.

  • Rating: 2/5
  • Established: 1994
  • Headquarters: Denver, Colorado
  • Average Daily Flights: 500
  • No. of Employees: 6,550
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 25.45 Million
  • Popular Destinations: Denver, Fort Myers, Liberia, Monterrey, Nassau, Ontario, Phoenix

10. SkyWest Airlines

SkyWest is a regional airline that operates across North America. It runs over 2400 flights daily to 240 cities in Canada, Mexico, and the US. Likewise, the company also operates 11 hubs that serve as transfer points for domestic and international flights.

Skywest is the largest regional airline in the US, boasting a fleet size of 477 aircraft. The company's arsenal consists of high-tech aircraft like the Bombardier CRJ200, Bombardier CRJ700, Bombardier CRJ900, and Embraer 175.

  • Rating: 1/5
  • Established: 1972
  • Headquarters: St. George, Utah
  • Average Daily Flights: 2400
  • No. of Employees: 13,582
  • No. of Passengers (Annual): 38.6 Million
  • Popular Destinations: Augusta, Jacksonville, Monterrey, New York, Sacramento, Vancouver, Victoria

Content Sources:

American Express

CN Traveler

Hawaiian Airlines

Plane Spotters

USA Today


Alaska Air