In case you’re planning a trip into or out of Florida, we’ve compiled a list of the best and worst airlines that served the Sunshine State during 2015. We surveyed 20,250 passengers at Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando and Tampa, during 2015 spanning the entire year. We tried to show the good and the bad in each airline, based on available passenger responses.
Instead of creating lists for legacy carriers, low-cost carriers, ultra-low-cost carriers, international carriers, etc…, we’ve just lumped them all together because we felt it would give readers a better overall view. We excluded carriers that did not fly at least nine months of the year into Florida with regularly scheduled service.
Topping our list at #1 was JetBlue. On-time performance, cleanliness of aircraft, friendly staff and convenience were the top reasons passengers selected JetBlue. Passengers most complained about the lack of long-distance international flights and transcontinental frequency of flights.
#2 Virgin America. Its lousy theme, friendly service, and onboard features were the most checked reasons passengers selected Virgin America. Passengers did say they wished the airline served more destinations, with one writing “it’s hard to be loyal to them when they don’t fly many of the routes and destinations I need to go to.”
#3 Delta. Who knew? Passengers said the on-time performance was essential to them as well as the frequency of flights. Chief complaint? Age of aircraft. Delta is known to be thirty when it buys airplanes, often choosing used aircraft instead of new to save money.
#4 Southwest. With its steadfast, loyal followers, we were surprised they were below Delta. Passengers flying Southwest said they liked the personal touch and personality of the cabin crew, as well as on-time performance as their most checked reason for selecting Southwest. The most loved to complain about the thing was that your board according to groups and there is no assigned seating, creating seating anxiety for some travelers.
#5 TAM. Brazilian based Tam Airlines flies several rotations daily from Brazil to both Orlando and Miami. The airline gets the thumbs up from passengers for its comfortable cabin, friendliness, and convenience. Though passengers grumbled a bit at what they said were unfair airline policies.
#6 Copa Airlines. Serving Panama from Miami and Orlando, Copa received high marks for friendliness and cabin comfort. However, passengers said they did not like the onboard entertainment options and cabin amenities, or lack of them in some cases.
#7 American Airlines. It’s not because of cabin comfort, but passengers did say they liked the airlines’ helpful staff and improving on-time performance, noting the professionalism of the flight crew as being comforting. What hurts the airline the most were passengers perception that the airline is flying old aircraft.
#8 United. Struggling with having three CEO’s is less than a year, the airline won marks for frequency, convenience, and cabin comfort, especially on its Newark (NYC) to Orlando route. What hurts United the most were its on-time performance and what passengers said were an unfriendly and unhelpful ticket and gate agents.
#9 Norwegian. Passengers liked the airline crisp look and fun and easy feeling, saying they felt confident.
#10 British Airways. Passengers said they liked the airline’s on-time performance, cabin comfort, and helpful flight crew. They didn’t like the prices of tickets nor the bathrooms on board.
And now, bringing up the bottom;
Ranked as the fifth worst airline to serve Florida, Silver Airways. A small commuter service flying feeder service into Orlando, passengers disliked the loud engine noise, and said airline staff is not helpful. However unappealing, the airline has helped bring regular air service to smaller regional cities around Florida, connecting them to Orlando via United Airlines.
Fourth worst is Frontier. Frontier evolved from a low-cost airline to an ultra-low-cost airline, or depending on where you sit, they de-evolved. Passengers said lack of personal space on board and less than friendly cabin crew was why they ranked Frontier as such. The airline did win good praise for its pricing and expanding the network of routes, however. Cabin cleanliness also received good mentions.
The third worst airline serving Florida is Spirit. Not shy of the less-than-good reviews the airline gets, it continues to grow despite passengers saying the aircraft cabin is not comfortable, ticket agents are not lovely, gate agents are only slightly more helpful, and that they dislike being charged for everything possible, lamenting soon they will need to bring their seats, seat belts, and oxygen. But it never all good or all bad, passengers liked the airlines’ relatively new or young fleet of aircraft saying it made them feel more confident about their flight.
Coming in as the second to worst airline serving Florida is Bahamasair, with passengers saying gate agents are downright rude sometimes.
And lastly, the airline that is growing but passengers seem to love to hate is Allegiant. Passengers complain at the airlines first fleet of aircraft, an uncomfortable cabin, less than daily schedules to some destinations, unhelpful staff and a dizzying array of add-on fees. Despite this, the airline has managed to grow by serving secondary markets where the bigger airlines don’t help, thus making flying on Allegiant more convenient in some cases. Passengers said they liked the low cost the most, apparently willing to put up with everything else to save a buck.
If your preferred airline is not listed, its because they fell somewhere in the middle, which means though not at the top, it’s a lot better than being at the bottom.
Soon we will be ranking US airlines serving Florida, so be sure to check back.