There's a New Best Airline in America

Although there's nothing particularly pleasant about commercial air travel, some major airlines are widely known for making the often expensive, stressful, and uncomfortable experience suck less than others. In fact, a new ranking released on Monday reveals the best airlines in America based on their performance throughout 2016.

After placing fifth in last year's results, Alaska Airlines has been named the best airline in America, according to the 27th annual Airline Quality Rating (AQR). Interestingly, the Seattle-based airline dethrones last year's top-rated airline, Virgin America (now no. 3), which it plans to acquire this year in a deal that'll make it the fifth largest carrier in the country. Delta Air Lines landed in the second place spot, while JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines rounded out the top five. 

It's also worth noting that Spirit, the budget airline that everyone loves to hate, finished better than last on this year's ranking, beating out Frontier for eleventh place. The new study analyzed 12 US airlines based on four key factors: consumer complaints, mishandled baggage, on-time performance, and involuntary denied boardings, according to a press release

Here's the complete list (with the airlines' previous ranking in parenthesis):

12. Frontier (11)
11. Spirit (13)
10. ExpressJet (9)
9. American (10)
8. United (8)
7. SkyWest (7)
6. Southwest (6)
5. Hawaiian (4)
4. JetBlue (2)
3. Virgin America (1)
2. Delta (3)
1. Alaska (5)

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and is flying Delta this week, so this list is good to see. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.