What Airline Do You Prefer and Why?

Updated on July 11, 2012
M.D. asks from Washington, DC
19 answers

The last time we flew as a family, we used Delta and NorthWest, because we got an amazing price. However, we carried on all of our bags which was a hassle and we'd like to avoid that again. Running through ATL with a 2, 4, and 6 year old plus bags is not an experience I'd like to ever repeat.

We have a cruise in January (the kids big Christmas gift this year!!) and we will need to fly from DC to Miami, or Fort Lauderdale. I have found Southwest is not the cheapest option, but with there being no bag fees, maybe in the long run it is. It is running a t otal of $56 more per person from the prices as they are today.

So do you prefer a certain airline? If so, can you tell me why?

Our kids will be 5, 7, and 9 for this trip if that has any bearing on certain carriers.

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answers from Boca Raton on

SouthWest is my favorite! I think they are part time comedians when their not flying!
I also really like Jet Blue~

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answers from St. Louis on

I am partial to Delta but mostly because Christine's boyfriend's dad flies for them. Totally silly reason I know.

Still the seem to give me more than a lot of the other carriers. Like, and if you saw how the guy behind me behaved you would see this was important, they give you all the wine you wish to drink on international flights! Trust me I would have popped that guy one if I wasn't properly pickled!!

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answers from Chicago on

If we are flying with the kids, we always us Southwest now, unless there is a plane change. Same reason, first 2 checked bags per person is free (well, not free, already included in your ticket price).

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answers from Washington DC on

It's been a while, but I have flown Southwest solo and liked them.

Most recently our family flew Virgin Atlantic to the UK and I was satisfied with their service. The older kids flew British Airways (long story) and did not have as good an experience. Virgin seemed to care about the little kids. I'd look around and see if Virgin America is similar. Otherwise, Southwest.

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answers from Seattle on

I WON'T fly United or American , even if you paid me. Long story there, and it's Maintence issues, not a service one.

BritishAirways is my hands down favorite of favorites.

For domestic where BA doesn't fly... Virgin or Alaska. Again, it's Maintence issues that make those two my hands down favorites. Ah. The curse of knowing too much about the airline industry!!!! Delta comes in a close third. They go through periods where they skimp on maintenance, but it's not company policy to do so, and ate generally a solid company.

The TRICK, btw, is to keep an eye on where pilots, stews, and ground crew are fighting to get jobs at, and which companies are havi g trouble keeping people. It infuriates all 3 to be flying on planes that are trips and trips behind their needed Maintence.

((This is from having been AirTrafficControl, and hundreds of domestic/international flights. Controllers fly free -or massive upgrade for free- on any airline they wish. Airlines like getting in good with controllers for better spots -all things being equal, aka no emergency- in taxing/takeoff/descent.))

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answers from Washington DC on

I've had great luck with jet blue and virgin america. Very kid friendly, tv's to watch, snacks and the staff has always been very friendly.
We flew once with delta and never will again. They lost my husbands luggage on the way there and didn't find it for 3 days! Then on the way home, they lost ALL of our luggage including 2 car seats! The saying about delta is true (Dont Expect Luggage To Arrive)

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answers from Dallas on

We fly Southwest and American Airlines.

I do a lot of travel planning for our business and pleasure and we prefer these 2 carriers.

Southwest is fantastic, we end up with a free ticket about every 8 weeks because we are very frequent flyers and in the perks program.

American is good, although the employees are a bit on the bitchy side lately. Again, we are in the perks program and never pay baggage fees, etc.

I work directly with their websites.

We've had 1 ER landingwhile on Southwest and they gave everyone another free ticket.

On American, we've been on 3 ER landings with one being most critical and they gave us extra miles in our account.

As for both, we were just glad to get back on the ground safely.. Nothing like the fire trucks chasing you down the runway as you hope to land safely. Both airlines did well under this pressure.

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answers from Missoula on

I was very impressed with Frontier Airlines when we flew...

They upgraded us to extended seating (extra leg space, front of the plane) for free, because we were traveling with a young child. They also turned on our televisions for free (they have cable tv on little tvs for every seat, but you have to pay for it after the first 15 minutes or so... but earphones are free!) Carseats were checked for free (I'm not sure if that's all airlines though...) and we were encouraged to check our carry-ons planeside if we didn't want to have to deal with the overhead compartments.

They served decent (free) refreshments, and one of our flights actually handed out fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. :) The flight itself was fairly comfortable, and the flight attendants went out of their way to make flying with my DD easier. One flight, hubby and I were given different seats (we booked too late to choose our own) and the attendants found people who were willing to move so we could sit together.

My DD also lost her lovey on one of the flights, (heartbreaking for me!) and when I realized it I called the airline... They searched the jets we had flown on, and couldn't find it... BUT, when we checked in for our return flight, someone (no clue if it was a flight attendant or someone else...) had bought a replacement lovey and left it for her! :)



answers from San Francisco on

For domestic flights, anytime I fly any other airline than Southwest I'm totally disappointed. Full disclosure, I've never flown Jet Blue or Virgin, which I've heard good things about.

United/Us Air, terrible. Mean people, bad service, flight/schedule changes - ugh!

I feel like these days service is pretty much the only thing that can save an airline's reputation and Southwest excels compared to the others. Not to mention they have good on-time ratings. The bag fees are a huge bonus for families. And I'm pretty used to the seating process at this point too. The icing is the fact that they don't have huge fees for changing your flights, which is a relief when you just never know if a kid will get sick etc right before a trip and things need to be changed.



answers from Bellingham on

Qantas, JAL, and Emirates. And Garuda - reminds me of my Daddy.


answers from San Francisco on

We have had great luck with Delta and United in terms of being on time and with good customer service, and an acceptable amount of leg room in coach class. I have flown Southwest, and that's okay too. My husband and I are both very tall, and my biggest gripe with Southwest is that their seats have zero leg room. The last time I flew them, the guy in front of me reclined his seat a little bit, and the resulting pressure on my knee caps made me have actual bruises on my knees (that was the first time I'd ever sat in a middle seat on SW, nowhere to put my legs!). But if you're on the petite side, it would be fine (and definitely ok for kids!).

I will never, ever fly Hawaiian Airlines again. We had a terrible experience with them last year, and they refused (refused!) to do ANYTHING to make it right for us. After speaking to a few friends who live in Hawaii, they've had similar terrible experiences, so I know it isn't just me. It takes a LOT to make me never do business with a company again, but Hawaiian managed to make it onto my short list. Grrr...



answers from Austin on

We usually fly Southwest, and bags fly free...... but, it looks like they may charge extra for their tickets to help make up for it. I usually check one bag, and don't purchase the earlybird check-in.... (my sister often buys the earlybird checkin, though.)

Allegiant, if they go where you are going, is often MUCH less expensive, depending on when you book....

Recently, my sister and M. needed to fly from Las Vegas to Kansas on very short notice for a funeral... with Southwest, for my M., even with the senior pricing, it would be $600+!! For my sister, it would have been $800......

She checked into Allegiant, which flies from Las Vegas to Wichita, which was even closer than their usual airport..... for the two of them, including checking 1 bag total (both flights), and pre-choosing their seats, the TOTAL cost for both of them (even at short notice) was about $630 ....... really great savings!



answers from San Francisco on

Another vote for Virgin :)


answers from Washington DC on

I prefer Southwest - usually because they are cheaper and fly where I want to go.

United used to be my airline of choice - but they added seats, added fees and took away things so - no - only if we'll be traveling overseas or someone else is paying for it!!LOL Now that they have combined with Continental Airlines - I'm hesitant!!!


answers from Lakeland on

I like AirTran or Allegiant. They are not too expensive and I have never had a problem with either. Southwest bought out AirTran so I don't think they will be around much longer.

I can't stand Delta. I think they are the worst. My mother recently flew with Frontier and said it was a pleasant experience.


answers from Tulsa on

I fly Delta whenever possible. Customer service has been wonderful. My last trip to India, Air France (booked through Delta - code share) went on strike, we were delayed an extra day, and I had multiple Delta agents bending over backwards to get us on flights out. Those international trips book up fast and the original flight was cancelled with less than 24 hours notice. I've only had my bag delayed once and that was because of a weather delay where I barely made my connection running, so pretty understandable that the bag didn't. Delta delivered it to my hotel the next day. Prices are comparable with the other major airlines, so if I can go Delta, I will.



answers from New York on

In the past 5 years I've flown twice. American Airlines and TAM. HATE HATE American Airlines. It was a horrible experience. They had to make an emergency landing, but made us sit on the plane for over 2 hours and then decided to let us off the plane. To help us out they gave us a voucher for food, but considering all restraunts were closing in 15 minutes, it wasn't any good

TAM is a Brazilian airline. The airlines in the US can use a lot of tips from them. Other than the food, they were great. They made sitting on the runway for almost 3 hours (airport problem) comfortable, and when we missed our connecting flight and went to the counter, they already had us booked on the next flight.



answers from Albuquerque on

I much prefer Southwest when traveling with children. No bag fees is wonderful. The boarding is great because you line up according to number and then pick whatever seat you want. Sounds like you'll be flying with a family of five. If you pay the extra $10 per person, you'll get early boarding and will almost certainly be able to sit three people on one side and two on the other. Plus, the stewardesses are nice, there are usually good snacks for purchase, and the planes seem well maintained.

The only airline I avoid is Delta because I've had just horrible luck with them. The last four times I've flown Delta, my seats have been changed. It's no big deal when flying for business, but when you show up to the airport with two small kids and learn that instead of seats 12A, 12B and 12C like you reserved, you're now in 31D, 27F, and 12E... it's a HUGE pain. I spent almost an hour negotiating with various ticket and gate agents to get the three of us back together (in the last row of the plane - yuk). Most of the agents told me to just get on the plane and ask people to switch seats.

On our last trip with Delta, we flew from Albuquerque to the Dominican Republic (with a stop in Atlanta). On the way there, all of our seats got changed. Major pain, but we dealt. Then during our vacation I got an email stating that Delta had changed our second flight time on the way home and we wouldn't be able to make it through customs so we'd have to stay over in Atlanta and take a flight Sunday morning. Um, what??? I emailed and found out that we'd have to pay for our own hotel. Totally annoying!!



answers from Seattle on

At 5, 7, and 9, the kids can roll their own carry-on luggage. And they'll probably even enjoy it. This should not be a problem, particularly if it's a direct flight.

Also, even if you check a bag, you probably only need to check one bag. It's a cruise (warm?); you shouldn't need that many clothes. Check one big bag and take smaller carry-ons (see above), and you'll save money. And you'll get a seat assignment beforehand.

That said, my parents love Southwest. They don't have seat assignments, though, so you have to know how to deal with that. You could pay an additional $10 for preferred seating (get to go on earlier to pick a seat), or you could make sure that exactly 24-hours before each flight you go online to get your boarding passes. Miss it by even a couple of minutes, and you'll not get priority boarding. It's a hassle, but it works if you're paying attention.

I prefer Alaska Airlines, but that's not going to be an option for you.

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