When you’re doing anything but traveling solo, it can start to become a juggling act, especially if you have kids to take along.
We all have preferences, but as a whole, there’s been some consensus as to which airlines are the best for traveling families.
Last year’s winner, Southwest, got nudged out by JetBlue this year. The airline’s ultimate downfall is that travelers don’t have the ability to book trips far in advance.
So, without further ado, here are the top 10 airlines for family travel, according to the Points Guy:
Perks: Built-in free entertainment and Wi-Fi, unlimited free snack basket, comfortable seats, the ability for families to pool miles together and a frequent-flyer program that’s easy to use. The Points Guy says if JetBlue serves the route you’re looking at, it should get serious consideration.
2. Southwest Airlines
Perks: A set family boarding time after Group A for people traveling with kids 6 and younger, no blackout dates, free bags, and an expansive route network that includes Hawaii and areas outside of the U.S.
3. Hawaiian Airlines
Even though this airline has the smallest route network of the bunch, it still ranks at the top with its perks: best average on-time performance in the U.S., above-average seat sizes and family-friendly early boarding, typically ensuring you can sit with your people.
4. Alaska Airlines
Barely coming in behind Hawaiian — due to no built-in complimentary entertainment — it has similar perks: you can choose your seats, above-average seat sizes, early boarding for families and kid-friendly snacks.
5. Delta Airlines
According to the Points Guy, Delta is good at nearly everything when it comes to family air travel. Perks: availability of free seat assignments, miles don’t expire, on-time stats are great, expansive route network and there’s seatback entertainment. The two areas where Delta really took a hit were fees and the lack of ability to pick your seats
6. United Airlines
Perks: Family-friendly early boarding, kid-friendly snacks, built-in entertainment (on some aircraft), a comprehensive route network and kid-friendly snack boxes for purchase.
7. American Airlines
This is where the points started dropping off dramatically. Though its route network is extensive, it has miles that expire and limited complimentary advanced seat assignments. American Airlines’ on-time arrival averages leave much to be desired and has pricey awards redemption during school breaks.
It’s not a full-service airline, but it rates higher than other budget carriers. Perks: pool miles, Kids Fly Free promotion, fares low enough to budget in needed extras. Unfortunately, the airline has expensive bag fees, small seats and no free snacks, built-in entertainment or complimentary advance seat assignments.
The main perk here is that it is a cost-effective way for everyone to fly, but miles expire after 90 days and there is no entertainment, food or complimentary seat assignments.
10. Allegiant Air
You must sign up for a co-branded credit card to participate in the frequent flyer program; it lacks entertainment, kid-friendly snacks or meals and complimentary seat assignments; and it doesn’t have set early boarding for families or a good record of on-time arrivals.