Whether you love taking to the skies or see air travel as a convenient way of getting from A to B, the fact is that most of us have a preferred airline.

They might have the best prices, or they might have the best in-flight snacks. It doesn’t matter why it’s your favorite, it just is!

But which airline is America’s favorite?

The J.D Power North America Airlines Satisfaction Study is considered one of the most important reports to understand how U.S. travelers feel about airline travel.

And the 2024 results are in!

How Do You Fly 

The airlines were ranked in 3 separate categories so that each flight class was given its own award.

JetBlue Embraer 190 taking off from JFK Airport in New York

This means that airlines had the chance to be the best 3 times over: with first/business class passengers, with premium economy passengers, and with economy/basic class passengers.

Each airline was awarded a score out of 1,000. The winners in each segment were:

First and Business Class 

  1. Delta Air Lines (with a score of 743)
  2. JetBlue (with a score of 736)
  3. United Airlines (with a score of 701)

Premium Economy Segment

  1. Delta Air Lines (with a score of 716)
  2. Alaska Airlines (with a score of 687)
  3. American Airlines (with a score of 684)

Economy and Basic Class 

  1. Southwest Airlines (with a score of 685)
  2. Delta Air Lines (with a score of 651)
  3. Allegiant Air (with a score of 633)

It should come as no surprise that satisfaction scores were much higher with first-class and premium economy passengers than they were with economy/basic class passengers.

 airline snacks and orange juice served on a Delta Airlines flight

This is a clear indication that the higher the class you choose to travel in, the better the service you will receive.

But a bigger hit to your bank balance too!

America’s Favorite Airline

America’s favorite airline overall? Delta.

Although the airline has slipped down the rankings for the past couple of years, it is now back in the first place spot, which might come as a surprise to some passengers.

flying delta plane

Delta Air Lines took first place for being America’s favorite airline to fly first or business class, as well as being the best premium economy offering.

In the rankings for economy passengers, they took second place, coming behind Southwest Airlines.

But as well as coming in first place for first class and premium economy passengers, Delta was also the only airline to appear in the top 3 positions for all 3 categories.

Delta Air Lines Plane Interior

This means that they were a very clear winner across the board.

What Makes An Airline Great?

So, how is the best airline in North America decided upon?

Wondering how satisfaction is determined? J.D. Power uses a 6-point rating scale.

Delta Airlines aircraft in flight; the Delta Logo visible on the airplanes' underbelly

Airlines are judged on their airline staff, digital tools, ease of travel, level of trust, on-board experience, pre and post-flight experience, and value for money.

Some reports have suggested that media perception was also a factor in determining the best airlines in the U.S. because airlines that had received negative media attraction from the press over the past 12 months saw their trust rating with passengers drop significantly.

Passengers were asked to rate their entire flight experience, from reserving their flight to picking up their luggage at their final destination.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-700 airplane at Sint Maarten airport

That’s why this report is considered so comprehensive and is so highly regarded.

Meaning that the Delta win can be considered a worthy and significant one.

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