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  • Konrad Tillman

Ranking My Best Top 5 US Airlines


I was looking back at some of my trips on Flighty and realized just how many have been on US carriers (I live in the US). I thought it would be a good idea to put a list together of my top 5 US carriers and why I rank them in this order. So... without further ado, I present to you my top 5 in order!

Number 1: American Airlines

If you had told me 4 years ago that I would be putting American Airlines over the likes of Jetblue or Delta, I would have admitted you into a psych ward (joking). However, after flying with them over 30 times in the past 12 months featuring economy, Business, and First, I can confidently say that they are my favorite airline in the US...

American Airlines at DFW

Why? There are multiple reasons, but the first is how friendly they have been to me on Twitter. When I was in Nicaragua, I had to get a couple of tickets booked to head over to Belize, but my phone wasn't working. I reached out on X (Twitter), and within minutes, they had it all sorted out for me... Secondly, the FAs have been genuinely very friendly to me on almost every flight (bar LAX-MIA), no matter if it was in economy from Miami to Managua or Business Class from Dallas to Phoenix. Lastly, the lounges. The Chelsea Lounge is undoubtedly the best lounge in the US, and the Greenwich or Flagship Lounges don't fall too far behind!

Number 2: Jetblue

Guess what? What Jettoajet? That rhymes 😉. Jetblue ranks at number two for a variety of reasons (good and bad), but the main reason why this airline is so far up is due to the food in Mint. The food across all 3 main US carriers is subpar compared to European/Asian standards. However, Jetblue's food is amazing!

Jetblue Catering. I know this picture doesn't do it justice, this was my first trip report!

Apart from that, what else stands out? The legroom in the economy is sublime, and offering free Wi-Fi to all customers is a must! However, there is always a however. There are no lounges in the network, some of my flights have been delayed, and aircraft swaps have gotten me on the wrong end of a stick before...

Number 3: United

United lands it's spot at number 3 for two reasons only: Polaris and Consistency. The Polaris product is the best business class in the US, and I have flown every single one of the US carriers in Business (not reviewed). Every aircraft now has the same seat (minus the few domestic 772s), so you know what to expect when getting onboard. My flight to Manila in Polaris is ranked in my top 10 flights ever! And the lounges? The ones at LAX and SFO are incredible (a bit busy, though).

Polaris 777 Cabin

The downsides? The short-haul product really lets them down here. I am not a fan of the product that they offer on the narrowbodies for the time being, and combine that with the hit or miss service and poor food, it has to come in at number 3. It's a shame, though, as it could be so much better with just a few small changes. The only other downside is that you don't get Polaris lounge access when flying Transcon (EWR-SFO/LAX), and that really bothers me. I am sipping Piper Heidsick champagne on American Airlines in the lounge before the flight😅.

Number 4: Alaska Airlines

Does Alaska have a competitive, hard product when flying coast to coast? Absolutely not. However, does Alaska have some of the friendliest flight attendants in the sky? Yes! The couple of times I have flown Alaska Airlines, the small gestures have shown a lot to me regarding the intent of the cabin crew. On a recent economy flight down to Liberia (CO), the FA left a snack on my seat while I was sleeping!

Alaska 737-900 Cabin

However, with their limited long-haul network and a lack of lie-flat seats in First Class, I can't put them up there in the top 3. My mum is about to take a flight down next week from Seattle to Miami, and she contemplated connecting in Los Angeles to get a lie flat for the hop...

Number 5: Hawaiin Airlines

This was a toss-up between Hawaiian Airlines and Delta, but due to the horrific loyalty program Delta has, Hawaiian Airlines has won the number 5 spot. I haven't flown Hawaiian in a while, but due to the recent announcement of the new 787 Dreamliner, I can confidently say that Hawaiian might become a big piece of US aviation in the next 5 years. As my memory serves, the business class is decent (for couples), and fantastic hospitality makes for a great experience!

Hawaiian Airlines A330

However, even when Hawaiian completely modernizes its fleet, there is still an issue (that's if AS doesn't take over). They only fly to Hawaii!! Take American, Delta, or United; they all have multiple hubs connecting Europe, Asia, South America, and even Africa from multiple airports! Hawaiian does fly to SE Asia and Oceania, but it's not competitive enough for me to put it any higher.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, everyone is going to have a different opinion on their favorite carriers in the US. However, after traveling quite a bit, these are my personal top 5 US airlines. American comes in first, Jetblue in second, United in third, Alaska in fourth, and Hawaiian in fifth. Of course, this isn't going to be true for everybody... If you live in Anchorage, having Hawaiian as your only carrier you fly might be challenging.

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