In a recent study that aimed to identify the top airlines in the U.S., Dallas-based Southwest Airlines ranked at the very bottom.
The study, conducted by WalletHub, examined nine of the largest U.S. airlines and two regional carriers across various categories such as cancellations, delays, mishandled baggage, legroom and more. The study's measurements showed that Southwest ranked last out of the 11 airlines included in the research by a substantial margin.
According to WalletHub, Southwest ranked near the bottom for canceled flights, mishandled baggage reports and denied boardings.
The study found that Delta was the best, but Spirit Airlines was the best airline for budget flyers. Delta Air Lines had the lowest rate of cancelations, delays, mishandled luggage and denied boardings. Envoy Air was found to be the safest in 2023 — the safety runner-up was Spirit Airlines.
Here’s the full ranking:
- Delta Air Lines
- Spirit Airlines
- Skywest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Envoy Air
- American Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
The study comes after Southwest’s major issues during December 2022’s severe storms. Issues with the airline's crew rescheduling system caused 16,700 flights flight cancelations in 10 days. This March, off-duty flight attendants represented by the TWU Local 556 union organized an informational picket outside Dallas Love Field, demanding improvement of working conditions as well as a modernization of the airline’s system.
“We are fighting for our customers and our passengers who endure some of the same things we do when Southwest has one of these meltdowns,” Michael Massoni, first vice president of TWU Local 556 said.
With the “Make It Right” slogan, the union was in negotiation for several improvements to their working conditions since 2018, well before the pandemic added stress to the airline industry. Meaning, the approximate 16,000 flight attendants employed by the airline have been working without a new contract for four years.