Choosing the right airline can make all the difference in the world when you’re traveling. We kind of take it for granted when things go smoothly and throw tantrums when they go awry. We’ve all seen the posts on Instagram and Facebook from friends and celebrities swearing off this airline or the other for its God-awful customer service, inattentive pet care, and uncanny ability to lose luggage.
So what’s the solution? Well, perhaps a little more research is the answer. Most travelers choose an airline based on price but these days you can find quite a few companies offering flights at or around the same cost. This gives customers the opportunity to the right airline by running through a checklist: Will my pet be safe? Do I get a snack on this flight? Is the cost of WiFi already covered in my ticket? If you lose my luggage, will you actually reimburse me?
To make things easier, WalletHub has generated a list of 2017’s Best Airlines comparing the 10 largest airlines in the U.S. plus two regional carriers. WalletHub analyzed U.S. Department of Transportation flight data from 2016 in three different categories in terms of what they’re say are “13” key metrics, but we only counted 11. Each metric was weighted based on a subjective importance determined by WalletHub — cancelled flights, delays (Ugh), mishandled baggage reports, denied boardings, complaints, animal related incident, leg room, entertainment options, WiFi accessibility, complimentary refreshments, and price.