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As Americans plan for vacations and begin using airlines again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, air travelers are still left wondering whether it’s safe to fly in the US.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a whole list of precautions to take if you plan on traveling while advising that the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick is to stay at home. However, if work is planning to send you somewhere or you just cannot stick around the house for the foreseeable future, some airlines are handling COVID-19 better than others, according to a new study.
Credit card rewards website The Points Guy recently compiled its rankings for the top airlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rankings centered around five key areas – ticketing, cleaning, on the ground, onboard, and loyalty – in order to come up with its list. Each airline was scored on a 100-point score that combined its scoring in each of the individual categories.
The study’s findings sure say it pays off to go with one of the big guys rather than save money with one of the discount airlines.
Delta Airlines took the top spot based on its “consistent, rigorous cleaning procedures” and the company’s commitment to reduce flight capacity through the end of September. The airline received a perfect score – 20/20 – for its cleaning routine while also scoring high in the on the ground category, which is comprised of things like check-in and boarding processes.
Alaska Airlines came in as the second-best bet due to its loyalty program, which the company amped up with enhancements to its elite status and promotional programs. The airline also dished out some of the quickest refunds and vowed to continue to block middle seats onboard flights through Sept. 30.
Budget flights did note fare as well. Spirit Airlines ranked dead last due to low scores on loyalty, onboard, and on the ground experience. Spirit notably charges passengers $3 for face covering, according to the study. Frontier Airlines finished next to last for dropping the ball on loyalty, with the airline not making any ground on its “Frontier Miles” program.
In terms of cleaning, Delta ranked the highest in that category followed by United, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, and American Airlines. For ticketing purposes, Southwest Airlines came on top for extending travel funds and offering conversations to points, according to the study.