In the unbelievably competitive world of air travel, the airlines that win our hearts( and our allegiance) are those that are dependable, have personality, and strive to impress.
To travelers, that may mean regional and artisanal snacks, in-flight entertainment that actually maintains you occupied, or stellar customer service.
Every year for the Worlds Best Awards survey, Travel+ Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travelling experiences around the globe to share their sentiments on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. In the airlines category, readers rated carriers on cabin comfort, service, food, customer service, and value.
The domestic carriers that do this best are continuing to perfect their formula. Many of this years Worlds Best airlines also ranked high on last years list.
Top marks in all of the characteristics helped buoy the winners above even the legacy carriers.
After all, Southwest Airline has charmed frequent fliers with its generosity( two free checked suitcases , no fees for altered or canceled flights) and a killer rewards program.
We could wax poetic about the ultra-valuable Companion Pass for decades.
Hawaiian Airline, meanwhile, has announced big plans to give every passenger a good nights sleep, with new lie-flat seats in the premium cabins and toiletries with soothing tropical scents.
JetBlue Airways, another Worlds Best Awardwinning airline, loves to host flash marketings and reward unsuspecting passengers( like the time they dedicated a 25 percent discount on future ticket purchases to mothers with crying babies ).
Perhaps the biggest story this year is the purchase of Virgin America a repeat No. 1 winner by Alaska Airline, which stepped up from No. 5 in 2015 to No. 4 in the 2016 survey. Both West Coastbased carriers have excellent on-time performance records( Virgin has been hailed as the best in the country) and pioneering tech: electronic suitcase tags, high-definition seatback entertainment, and soothing mood lighting.
Alaskas acquisition of Virgin have committed themselves to please fans of both brands by expanding the network of roads and increasing opportunities to score miles.
The merger is certain to encourage other airlines to step up their game.