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To better compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, we grouped the airlines into three categories: major, regional and budget carriers to show peer-to-peer results.
The four major domestic airlines reviewed included Delta, United, Southwest and American. Here’s how the big guys compared:
Is your local airport mainly serviced by big carriers? Look to Delta as a trustworthy option for a reliable baggage experience. Despite carrying more passengers–almost as many as American does, and about 50% more than United –Delta ranked highest among the major carriers for best baggage experience.
Southwest may be a more convenient airline for you, but know that they received the most total complaints of all carriers reviewed. But do those numbers balance out against other airlines? Compared to American, Southwest had about one additional complaint for every 500 extra passengers, but compared to Delta, Southwest received one additional complaint for every 100 additional passengers.
Delta Air Lines
Regional carriers Hawaiian, Alaska, SkyWest, ExpressJet and Envoy Air compared this way:
Flying on the west coast? While Hawaiian Airlines ranked on top for regional carriers, Alaska Air is on its heels despite flying more than twice the number of passengers.
If having your suitcase arrive with you is paramount, ExpressJet and SkyWest are more likely to disappoint. Actual numbers indicate they carry only about one-fifth more passengers than Alaska Air yet they received twice the number of baggage problems.
Envoy Air had the worst record of all the carriers reviewed. Envoy Air’s baggage complaints were almost 50% higher than Alaska Air while flying half the number of passengers.
Budget carriers Virgin, Spirit, Hawaiian, Frontier and Envoy reported the following:
Besides enjoying individual television and movie selections at your seat, you can bet your bags will arrive with you on JetBlue. While the actual number of problems reported by JetBlue was the highest in this category, the airline carried more than four times the number of passengers flying on Virgin, while only being twice as likely to experience baggage mishaps.
If there is a choice between Spirit and Frontier, the chances of baggage problems are comparable, but based on actual numbers, Frontier had one additional complaint for every additional 261 passengers on board above Spirit’s numbers.
When looking at number of passengers flown, JetBlue rivals Regional airlines SkyWest and ExpressJet, yet the two Regionals reported more than twice the number of complaints at the baggage claim as JetBlue did. So JetBlue shines among both Budget and Regional airlines.
Source: RewardExpert’s analysis of US Department of Transportation data collected by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics