Top 10 safest airlines in the U.S.: statistics, causes of accidents and the world leader in flight reliability

By Tetiana PavlichenkoMay 25, 2024 09:13 AMBlog
Top 10 safest airlines in the U.S.: statistics, causes of accidents and the world leader in flight reliability
Several low-cost carriers also made it to the top of the safest airlines list. Source: Image Stephen Marc/Pixabay

Any traveler, whether novice or seasoned, might have sometimes had thoughts about how safe their chosen airline is.

AirAdvisor researched statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) by looking at airline accidents for the year 2022 and came up with some interesting findings. For instance, 30 such accidents occurred globally during the period in question in conditions where passengers were on board. Three of them were fatal, resulting in 152 deaths. The accidents involved 3 major US airlines, but all of them ended with no fatalities. With statistics from the global aviation industry, AirAdvisor has determined the top safest US airlines for 2023.

U.S. airlines with flawless records

In 2021 and 2022, the IATA reports show that five U.S. airlines had zero accidents, so they can be considered the safest.

Alaska Airlines

The last accident on Alaska Airlines passenger airlines was recorded by IATA back on December 26, 2005. Fatalities were avoided as a result of this accident.

Allegiant Air

This airline just like Alaska Airlines has kept positive statistics for a long time. The last accident involving its flight occurred on March 29, 2007, but fatalities were avoided. Despite the fact that the airline is a low-cost airline and offers low-cost flights, safety is treated with due attention.

American Airlines

Top 10 safest airlines in the U.S.: statistics, causes of accidents and the world leader in flight reliability
This is one of the most popular American airlines. Source: Image F. Muhammad/Pixabay

One of the most popular airlines in the United States finished 2021 and 2022 without an accident and made it to the safest ranking. The last accident, however, happened here not as long ago as in the previous two versions - on March 21, 2020. Then during landing, the plane hit the tail and suffered significant damage, but there were fortunately no fatalities as a result.

To clarify the situation (which we have yet to encounter further), a tail strike occurs when the stabilizing structures in the tail of an aircraft or the tail itself collides with the ground or some other stationary object.

American Airlines is the largest air carrier in the United States in terms of passenger traffic. It is good to know that it also has an excellent safety record. Because in determining which airlines in the United States are the safest, regardless of the outcome, you are very likely to have boarded its planes one day.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines ended 2022 with zero accidents. It is also one of the low-cost carriers, with the last accident on its planes recorded on June 17, 2019. It was not extremely dangerous for passengers: the plane collided with a food truck. So passengers had to be delayed at the airport until they were offered a new flight.

But Southwest Airlines is the only company on our list that has been linked to a deadly accident. On April 17, 2018, during a flight from Lou Guardia Airport, New York to Dallas, one of the engines exploded in mid-air. At that time, seven people were injured and one unfortunately passed away. Prior to this tragic accident, a Southwest Airlines passenger was fatally injured on a flight in 2009.

Spirit Airlines

To examine the tragic moments in the history of this airline, we should go back to 2005. On September 18, one of the passenger planes made a hard landing, as a result of which the plane was badly damaged, but there were no fatalities. This was the only accident on Spirit Airlines since 2000, so the airline can demonstrate a solid record of reliability and safety.

Airplane crashes in the U.S. in 2021

Hawaiian Airlines

This airline failed to make the accident-free list for the 2021-2022 period, as one of its aircraft also experienced a tail strike on September 23, 2021. Fortunately, there was no fatality. However, and Business Insider ranked it 12th on their global list of safest airlines for 2021 and 2022, so an isolated incident shouldn't make you apprehensive about traveling with this carrier in the United States. Plus, if you're planning to visit Hawaii, it will be hard to avoid it.

United Airlines

Top 10 safest airlines in the U.S.: statistics, causes of accidents and the world leader in flight reliability
United Airlines has been ranked among the top 20 safe air carriers in the world. Source: Image pkozmin/Pixabay

Another company had an accident-free 2022, but a tail strike occurred to its aircraft (without a fatality) on September 27, 2021. Despite this frightening event, ranked it among the 20 safest airlines in the world.

U.S. airlines with good safety ratings despite accidents

The following three airlines each had one accident of roughly equal severity in 2022.

Delta Airlines

On August 6, 2022, Flight 1696 encountered a tail strike at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, during a second-round approach to attempt to land. But 10 minutes later, the crew was able to successfully land the plane.

JetBlue Airways

An airplane of this airline suffered a tail strike at 2022 during takeoff at Hayden-Yampa Valley Airport, Colorado. After the impact, it was able to take off but veered sharply to the right, creating an unsafe situation for passengers on board, and was diverted to Denver International Airport, where it landed safely.

Frontier Airlines

The frequency of tail strike accidents is further confirmed by an incident that occurred on May 18, 2022 at Trenton-Mercer Airport involving Flight F9-810. While attempting to land, the airplane crashed into the runway, but the landing was completed successfully.

A similar landing situation involving a Frontier Airlines flight occurred six months earlier, on September 21, 2021. But both these disasters ended without loss of life, so Frontier Airlines remains one of the safest airlines in the U.S., and also quite budget.

Which U.S. airlines are the safest?

According to AirAdvisor's rankings, seven carriers with zero accidents in 2002 managed to top the top safe airlines for 2023: Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.

Three more (Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and JetBlue Airways) have experienced a tail strike on landing, takeoff, or approach in 2022.

Which airline is the most reliable in the world?

Top 10 safest airlines in the U.S.: statistics, causes of accidents and the world leader in flight reliability
Air New Zealand topped the top safe airlines in the world in 2024. Source: Image Thierry BEUVE/Pixabay has identified the safest airline in the world for 2024 - Air New Zealand. The second line was taken by Qantas, which led the ranking in 2023.

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