Ranked: The Best Airlines for Economy Class (2024)

Traveling is a lot of fun, but some expenses, like airfare, can take up a significant portion of your vacation budget. You can better honor your budget by opting for economy class tickets. But which airlines are best for flying in coach? Let's take a closer look at the top airlines for economy class.

Best airline for value: Southwest Airlines

Southwest is known for charging minimal fees, which can be a win if you're a traveler who books economy class airfare tickets. The airline doesn't charge change or cancellation fees as long as you cancel your flight at least 10 minutes before the scheduled departure.

Southwest also allows every flier to bring two checked bags for free. Extra bag fees can add up, especially when traveling with companions. These additional perks can provide value to travelers.

Here's one pro tip I'd like to share if you're working with a limited budget: Try to buy your airfare during one of Southwest's sales. The carrier runs sales several times a year. This strategic move could help you keep more money in your checking account.

Best airline for basic economy: American Airlines

Basic economy tickets are the most affordable economy tickets available. However, this fare has more restrictions. However, it can be a great option if you need to buy airfare without racking up an expensive credit card bill.

American Airlines is the winner for this category. Compared to other U.S.-based airlines, the carrier includes more perks with its basic economy fare. For example, you can bring a personal item and a carry-on bag. United fliers with a basic economy ticket can't bring a carry-on bag for free on most domestic routes.

Finally, you can earn AAdvantage miles when flying on a basic economy ticket. You'll earn fewer miles than flying on a main cabin ticket, but will still get rewarded. Review the restrictions before booking basic economy tickets with American Airlines for the best success.

Best airline for seat comfort when flying economy: JetBlue Airways

Flying on an economy ticket is almost always more affordable than flying on a premium-class ticket. But it's not exactly the most comfortable experience. But if you're selective about which airline you fly with, you can improve your comfort and overall travel experience.

When comparing U.S.-based carriers, JetBlue stands out as a winner in terms of seat comfort. The airline offers basic economy tickets (Blue Basic) and economy tickets (Blue), so there are options for low-cost fares.

A recent study from Upgraded Points found that JetBlue has an average seat pitch of 32.3 inches -- earning a top spot above all other major U.S. carriers. The exact seat pitch and legroom vary by plane, so you'll want to review these details before you book a ticket. The tool aeroLOPA is excellent for viewing accurate seat maps for each carrier's fleet.

JetBlue has Even More Space seats available for an additional fee if you want to improve your comfort more by selecting a seat with more legroom -- up to 38 inches. But only upgrade your seat if it fits your budget. It's not worthwhile to go into debt for more legroom.

Consider your needs and budget before buying airfare

If you need to buy airfare for an upcoming trip, booking economy class is an excellent strategy to avoid overspending. However, keep in mind that not all airlines are created equal.

Some airlines may be a better choice if you prefer a value-packed experience or greater comfort. Consider your budget and travel needs before booking a flight so you can choose an ideal airline. It's also smart to carefully review the terms before booking a ticket.

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Ranked: The Best Airlines for Economy Class (2024)

FAQs

What is the best airline to fly in the economy? ›

Best airline for basic economy: American Airlines

American Airlines is the winner for this category. Compared to other U.S.-based airlines, the carrier includes more perks with its basic economy fare. For example, you can bring a personal item and a carry-on bag.

What airline has the best seats in economy? ›

In addition to their seats being the widest in the industry, jetBlue flights have the largest economy class seat pitch (legroom) of between 32” and 34”.

What airline has the best economy cabin? ›

The best economy seats for long-haul flights
  • JetBlue Airbus A321. The New York-based carrier is one of the top US airlines in terms of legroom. ...
  • Japan Airlines Airbus A350-1000. ...
  • All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Jun 3, 2024

Which airline has the widest seats in economy class? ›

Passengers who require extra room can purchase another seat at the time of booking and receive the money back after contacting customer service. The airlines with the widest seats among US airlines are JetBlue Airways and Silver Airways. 18 inches wide.

What is the cheapest and most reliable airline? ›

What Are The Most Affordable Airlines In The U.S.?
  1. Spirit Airlines. No.
  2. Frontier Airlines. No.
  3. SkyWest Airlines. No.
  4. Alaska Airlines. No.
  5. JetBlue Airways. No.
  6. Hawaiian Airlines. No.
  7. Southwest Airlines. No.
  8. United Airlines. No.
Apr 20, 2024

What is the top 5 best airline? ›

Overall Rankings: The Best Airlines in the U.S.
  • Alaska Airlines.
  • SkyWest Airlines.
  • Spirit Airlines.
  • Delta Air Lines.
  • United Airlines.
  • JetBlue Airways.
  • Hawaiian Airlines.
  • American Airlines.
Apr 23, 2024

Which airlines have the most legroom in the economy? ›

The U.S. Airlines with the Most Legroom:
RankAirlineAverage seat pitch
1JetBlue Airways32.3”
2Southwest Airlines31.8”
3Alaska Airlines31.0”
3Delta Air Lines31.0”
5 more rows
Jan 10, 2024

What is the least comfortable airline? ›

There were some clear losers when it comes to legroom, though: Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines both tied for bottom place.

How do I get better economy seats? ›

Sometimes travelers can be lucky enough to get an upgrade, but if they're stuck in economy class, they should select a good seat. If the airline allows, book a seat near the back of the plane where there's more legroom. Or if going for a window seat, choose one in the first row to have more space.

Which is the most comfortable airline to fly on? ›

Delta Airlines is the clear winner when it comes to comfortable international and short-haul travel. When we take into account several variables, Delta is the best airline in the US. Regarding seat comfort, Delta does well; its seats range in width from 17.2″ to 18.5″.

Which airline has the best economy class in 2024? ›

Excellence in aviation

Singapore Airlines won Best First Class, Qatar Airways picked up Best Business Class, Emirates scooped Best Premium Economy and Air New Zealand was awarded Best Economy Class.

Which is the best economy class airline in the US? ›

American Airlines is the winner for this category. Compared to other U.S.-based airlines, the carrier includes more perks with its basic economy fare. For example, you can bring a personal item and a carry-on bag. United fliers with a basic economy ticket can't bring a carry-on bag for free on most domestic routes.

Which flight economy seat is best? ›

Exit rows, aisle or window seats, and anywhere close to the front are typically considered the best seats on a plane. For a brief business trip, you might prefer an aisle seat towards the front of the plane, facilitating a swift exit upon arrival.

Who has bigger seats, Delta or American? ›

Alaska Airlines/Delta Air Lines (Tie) - 31.8 inches. American Airlines - 31 inches. United Airlines - 30.2 inches.

What is the best airline to fly domestically in the US? ›

Delta is our top-ranking airline in terms of overall dependability, with the greatest score when all factors are evaluated. Hawaiian Airlines takes second place overall, while Allegiant Air outperforms Hawaiian and Delta in the sub-category of mishandled luggage or refused boarding.

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