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A new study ranks domestic airlines on features including leg room, entertainment, and food.
Flying these days can be a serious headache for commercial air travelers. Think steerage-like conditions and à la carte tickets devoid of even the basic dignities—and that's before even mentioning the stresses caused by mass flight cancellations and delays. But not all airlines are created equal when it comes to providing (or depriving) comfortable experiences for passengers.
A new report from WalletHub used available data to analyze the best and worst airlines in terms of overall service quality and functional performance. The analysis looked at the nine largest national airlines as well as two regional carriers (that report to the Department of Transportation because they have at least 1 percent of total domestic scheduled-service passenger revenues) in terms of 16 key metrics across four major categories.
In the comfort category, the study assigned points to airlines in areas including leg room, entertainment options, Wi-Fi availability, the availability of complimentary refreshments, and price. (The data set included costs in relation to in-flight amenities for the sake of fairness in evaluating the value as a whole.)
At the bottom of the list were the no-frills carriers Spirit and Frontier (which also ranked as the most affordable).
Read on to find out which airline came out on top in the comfort category, and which others round out the list of most comfortable airlines.
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American Airlines took the no. 6 spot on the list with a comfort score of 4 out of 5. This represents a decline from its 2021 score of 4.5, and an even more sizeable slide from its 2019 high of 4.63.
Demonstrating the level of competition among some of the key players in domestic commercial aviation, United is among four airlines that tied for the no. 2 spot on the list, offering similar comfort features for passengers. The carrier scored 4.5 out of 5 for comfort, matching its score over the previous two years of data. United's score has been the same over six years of data, except for a spike in 2018 when it provided more comfort for flyers with a score of 4.63 in this category.
RELATED: If You Hear This on Your Plane, It Might Be an Emergency, Flight Attendant Warns.
Southwest is among four airlines in a tie for the second-place spot on the list. The carrier scored 4.5 out of 5 for comfort, matching its score over the previous two years of data. This number is slightly less than its score from the three previous years, when Southwest pulled in a 4.63 score for comfort.
Alaska Airlines is among the four that tied for the no. 2 spot on the list. It comes in with a score of 4.5 out of 5 for comfort, as it has done consistently over the last three years of data. This number represents a small decrease from the three previous years, when Alaska scored 4.63 for comfort.
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Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines came in with a share of the no. 2 spot on the list. Its high marks have been consistent over the last three years of data. However, they represent a slight dip from the three previous years, when Delta scored marginally higher for its comfort offerings.
The study found JetBlue to be the most comfortable airline based on the metrics. The carrier led the pack in terms of in-flight experience, offering free amenities such as Wi-Fi, extra legroom, and complimentary snacks and beverages. In fact, JetBlue's perfect 5.0 score remained consistent across the six years of data presented in the report.
RELATED: Never Forget to Do This Before Boarding, Flight Attendant Warns.
Alesandra Dubin is a lifestyle editor and writer based in Los Angeles. Readmore
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