With baggage fees, inexplicable delays, and a lack of honey-roasted peanuts, airlines give travelers plenty to complain about. But that's not always the case, because Condé Nast Traveler reports that one airline is a shining beacon of hope in the not-so-friendly skies. According to a survey conducted by Wallethub, Southwest Airlines gets the fewest complaints of any major carrier. That doesn't mean that it's the best airline out there, but it does mean something when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Drawing data from Wallethub's annual Best Airlines report, the credit-monitoring and analytics site announced that Southwest Airlines earned the prestigious Most Satisfactory Airline award. Wallethub surveyed 10 major carriers and two regional airlines for the data, which used flight information from 2016.
Condé Nast Traveler explains that Wallethub arrived at that figure by "[collecting] the total number of complaints filed against each airline" and "[using] this number to arrive at rate of complaints per 100,000 passengers."
The most complained-about airlines? That would be Frontier and Spirit Airlines, which had nearly double the complaint scores of the next-highest carrier, American Airlines.
In addition to looking at customer complaints, the Wallethub survey also looked at which airlines were the most comfortable (JetBlue), most reliable (Alaska Airlines), and which were cheapest overall — not surprisingly, that honor goes to the most complained about airlines, Spirit and Frontier. It looks like air travel is a delicate game of give and take. You can't save cash and expect to fly a complaint-free airline, it seems.
Southwest may have taken home the customer service trophy, but overall it didn't fare too well, taking the 10th spot out of 13. With all the metrics taken into consideration, including pet well-being, Alaska Airlines rose to the top with Delta and SkyWest rounding out the top three.