When you’re traveling twice a week, every week, on an on-site project as a consultant, it’s incredibly important to pick the right airline – or more so – the best airline. You’ll gain status and exclusive perks, so you want to make sure that you’re flying the best airline (in terms of on-time %, status rewards, and extra perks). There’s always a clear winner in the best airlines to fly.
We’ve broken down a list of the top airlines you should use (in order of best to worst) for your traveling projects. Let’s get started.
Winners & Losers
Delta was the big winner as the top of the best airlines to fly, with 92.7% of planes arriving on time, the largest network of lounges and cities served, and several other strong suits.
The big loser? Budget airline Frontier – as the bottom rung of the best airlines to fly, which fell to last place thanks to its undesirable on-time record (nearly 1 of 4 flights were delayed), lackluster cabin features, and – unsurprisingly – a high rate of customer complaints.
Delta – Best airline to fly
Delta puts a big emphasis on rewarding business travelers (hello – that’s you!). As a consultant, you can enroll in a fast-track program which rewards you status in an extremely short amount of time. Let’s go over the fast-track program:
- Silver Status: Take 4 one-way flights
- Gold Status: Take 8 one-way flights
- Platinum: Take 16 one-way flights
Note: When we say one-way flights, a roundtrip booking still applies (e.g. when you take 2 roundtrip journeys, you’ll receive silver status).
If you’re not enrolled in the fast-track program, it’ll take you much longer to receive status. In addition to the fast-track program, you can also select Comfort+ seats after your booking. This means you’ll receive an earlier boarding zone, the ability to depart your plane earlier, and better snacks + free alcoholic drinks. Lastly, Delta has premium customer service lines depending on your status (with Platinum status, your wait time on the phone will be extremely low).
All in all, Delta seems the way to go. With easy status progression, coupled with Delta’s plentiful lounges and passion towards business travelers, there seems to be no better choice.
Sign up for the Fast-track program here.
Alaska – arguably ties for the best airline to fly
It may seem like an odd #2, but you have to try Alaska to see why. With great on-time % and exceptional service, you can’t go wrong with this airline.
One aspect that Alaska truly stands out on is it’s frequent-flyer program. If you’re a loyal Alaskan airline traveler, you’ll be receiving the highest rewards and loyalty points. Depending on your preference, some people argue that Alaska and Delta tie as the best airlines to fly.
Although this carrier suffers from lackluster cabin features, it makes up for in ancillary fees. While there is no fast-track program for consultants, there is one added bonus for frequent-flyers.
If you have a significant other or friend whom you travel with frequently, Southwest rewards you with a companion certificate every 100 flights (or 125,000 qualifying points). As a consultant, you’ll earn this certificate pretty quickly – most likely through the qualifying points. In addition, with the A-List Preferred status, you’ll receive complimentary free Wifi on all flights. It’s a nice perk considering Delta charges you no matter your status.
Now we’re getting to the mediocre-range airlines. United is great for it’s wide array of lounges, and somewhere in the middle for its on-time %. With that said, it’s pretty indifferent for every other aspect.
All in all, JetBlue wins the reward for the best and most comfortable coach cabins. Seriously, try them out. We’ve flown a lot and we haven’t seen an airline with seats that have as much cushion and leg room than JetBlue.
Now for the downside, JetBlue is well-known for their high rate of delayed and cancelled flights, so be wary when you’re booking through JetBlue – you may just be late for your 9am meeting.
Let’s start with the worst aspects – everything except the status match. Seriously. American, for the past 5 years, has consistently ranked as the worst major U.S airline (we’re adding frontier to our rankings, otherwise American would be the lowest). Their cabins are undoubtedly still from the 1970’s, with extremely stripped down seats and small leg-room. If you’re taller than 6 ft, good luck – you’ll probably have to sit sideways.
Now let’s cover the one (seriously, one) good thing. American offers a status match. So we recommend you use the Delta fast-track program to receive platinum status, and then reach out to American for the status match. American should only serve as a backup incase there’s no convenient Delta flight for a specific day. That way, you’ll at least have priority boarding and can choose an exit row on American.
Frontier – bottom rung for best airlines to fly
Don’t take it, seriously. Just reach out to your client or project manager and let them know you’ll be in the next day. But since we’re here, let’s go over why we would never, ever, recommend Frontier.
First, sure, Frontier is inexpensive. You’re a consultant though and either your client or firm is fronting the cost, so why would you stoop that low and take Frontier?
For the low-cost of a Frontier ticket, passengers are giving up cabin comforts and – most notably – on-time flights. It also bumped more passengers than any other airlines, on average. Not surprisingly, Frontier Airlines had the highest rate of complaints per passenger.
Just don’t take Frontier, seriously.
One Clear Winner
All in all, it’s pretty easy to identify a winner, that being Delta as the best airline to fly. If you’re about to be staffed on a traveling project, make sure you sign up for the fast-track program before you start flying. Delta won’t reward you for past flights, so you want to make sure that you’re successfully signed up before your first flight.
Have any thoughts or comments on our airline list? Let us know below.