Heavy luggage. Long lines. Delayed flights. Some of the many things that make air travel stressful.
“Where do I go? How do I get there? Is it gonna be a problem?” airline passenger Kate LaVioletle asked, expressing the frustration of air travel.
With so many travelers feeling overwhelmed, a little extra effort by an airline can go a long way into making your flying experience more pleasant. Customer service is one of the most important things many passengers point to when it comes to which airline they like best.
"It's always a hassle, so any airline that can make it a comfortable experience for you is the best," said LaVioletle.
TOP 5 Domestic Airlines
- Survey conducted by Travel and Leisure
- Best overall: Virgin America
- Travelers rate enjoyable experience almost as important as price
Travel and Leisure’s annual World’s Best survey for 2016 gives us a look at which airlines rate best for customer service.
Coming in at number five with passengers was Hawaiian Airlines; followed by JetBlue at number four.
"Everyone is so friendly and so nice and accommodating," said passenger Lucille Rossignol who was flying JetBlue out of Tampa International Airport to Boston.
Next is Alaska Airlines, which was voted number three for customer service.
Passenger Cy Williams says he flies Alaska Airlines often to go fishing in Alaska and says he’s impressed with their customer service.
"I enjoy it. I really do. I've never had a bad day with them," Williams said.
Snagging the number two spot: Southwest Airlines.
Southwest's boarding process is a bit different. You check in 24 hours in advance and receive a boarding number based on how early you check in. You stand in line in order of the number you received to get on the plane. Seats are not assigned, but it is orderly and logical. Even more notable, however, are Southwest flight attendants. They’re known for being very upbeat and funny.
"Everybody's usually in a pretty good mood and they're just fun. Mostly we always fly Southwest these days," Southwest passenger Heather Stevens said.
And finally, number one for customer service: Virgin America.
Passenger Justin Slack flies Virgin America out of Seattle for business and says they do go above and beyond.
"They have purple lights on their airplane inside," Slack said. "They have the movie players that are on the back of the seats, and they try to do things a bit different. A little bit quirky, but it’s fun and makes for a good experience."
- Virgin America
- Southwest Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
Turns out having an enjoyable experience is almost as important as a good fare.
"You really can't beat good quality customer service," LaVioletle said.
Getting a good price always matters, but the next time you book a flight it's also good to know which airlines are working hardest to make it a good experience from check in to baggage claim.
Click here to read more from Travel & Leisure about their 2016 World’s Best Awards for everything from best hotels to best cities to best cruise lines and more.