Sunday, July 24, 2016


Air travel is a dog-eat-dog sort of business in order to attract the most passengers to fly frequently with only the airlines thought to be the best. This is no less true in the case of domestic carriers; only the most impressive, personable and definitely reliable air company will stand to win the hearts, loyalty and miles of flyers.

The way to achieve this has been a constant for years: engaging in-flight entertainment, airline snacks that are more palatable than store-bought commercial goods, and of course good old-fashioned top-notch customer service. And every year, top travel mag Travel + Leisure gets their readership to spill their thoughts and opinions on what they believe are the best of the best in terms of travel transportation and destinations – cities, hotels, resorts, island getaways, cruise lines, and of course, airlines – all for their annual World’s Best Awards survey.

For the best airlines category, T+L surveyed readers on their preferred companies based on staff service, cabin comfort, food quality, travel value, and satisfaction. When it comes to the best domestic carriers, it’s no surprise to learn that those which made the list in 2016 were the same top rankers from last year. After all, they’ve worked for years in order to perfect their respective recipes for the ultimate passenger experience, and they have never stopped innovating and pushing the envelope further. So these companies certainly deserve their well-earned recognition even above those of the long-flying big-name airlines.

Southwest Airlines

- This one’s a sure regular on this list for their utmost generosity to passengers. I mean, who could say no to a max 2 free checked bags and NO fees if a flight is changed or cancelled? Their rewards program is nothing to sneeze at either, and the semi-elite Companion Pass program where you can take a designated travel buddy every time you buy Southwest Air once you have accumulated either 100 flights or 110,000 Qualifying Points (or get a Southwest CC from Chase) is the veritable KO punch where top domestic airline status is concerned.

Hawaiian Airlines

- When you fly Hawaiian, you’re bound to get a genuine good night’s sleep, especially in Premium Class where the seats can actually lay all the way flat. The toiletries are very nice too; you’d think you were in Hawaii already, or really close.

JetBlue Airways

- This one takes another angle of attack to reel in passengers through regular flash sales on flights. More surprising and heartwarming is their propensity to bestow rewards on passengers totally unawares. Take for instance the time they gave mommy flyers with crying babies a great 25% discount on their next JetBlue ticket. That can be deliberately exploited, but it’s like they don’t mind at all.

Virgin America AND Alaska Airlines

- Now this is definitely the airline news bomb of the year when constant No. 1 ranker Virgin America was bought out by 2015 No.5 and now 2016 No. 4 Alaska Air. Both of them are passenger’s choices for getting their flights going and arriving on time (on this, Virgin was the country’s uncontested champ). The resulting merger will only cement the loyalty of their now combined flyer base with the new routes available, the electronic bag tags, mood lights and HD in-flight entertainment.

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