2014: How Brands of Airlines in the United States Measure Up

An airplane approaches Newark International Airport with New York as its backdrop. Which airlines supposedly experienced an increase pertaining to the respectability of their brands — and which airlines experienced a decrease? Photograph by FlyerTalk member andset1191. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by andset1191.

An article was posted by me on August 20, 2013 here at The Gate with a link to a discussion on FlyerTalk suggesting that Delta Air Lines is the “least respected brand” in the United States; and although Delta Air Lines may be far from perfect as a company, I attempted to refute that claim by imparting my own personal experiences.

CoreBrand — the company responsible for the data which suggested to some FlyerTalk members that Delta Air Lines is the “least respected brand” in the United States — just released new data for the companies which they track. Solely for fun, I decided to post the results for airlines, which are shown below:

Company 2009 Rank 2013 Rank 2014 Rank
+2 American Airlines 178 176 174
+7 United Airlines 202 206 199
-1 Delta Air Lines 185 215 216
-5 Southwest Airlines 206 251 256
+1 US Airways Group 246 329 328


As you can see in the chart, Delta Air Lines slipped one place from 215 last year to 216 this year; but they are not the “least respected brand” pertaining to airlines based in the United States. If you believe the data from the chart above, Delta Air Lines is in the middle of the “pack”, as Southwest Airlines not only is supposedly a brand even less respected than Delta Air Lines; but is also the only other airline in the chart which performed worse this year than last year.

Curiously, however, United Airlines brand actually improved in 2014; and scored the most significant improvement of all of the airlines listed in the chart above. Try convincing FlyerTalk members of the rationale behind that statistic.

Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Air, jetBlue Airways and Sun Country Airlines are brands which are not tracked by CoreBrand; so there is no data on those companies.

Please refer to the aforementioned article for additional information at the methodology used by CoreBrand for its data and results.

Considering that there are many surveys, charts and data which suggest how an airline is ranked — whether by satisfaction with a frequent flier loyalty program or by the SkyTrax World Airline Awards of 2014 — and that there are times that the data is conflicting and seems to not be logical, I would not place too much weight on the results, which can vary.

What are your thoughts pertaining to the brands of airlines based in the United States?

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Comments (Showing 4 of 4)

  • UrbaneGent at 8:55pm July 15, 2014

    The people who were questioned by CoreBrand must be people who are not Mileage Plus members or pre-merger Million Mile Flyers. I would think anyone who would be happy with United are flyers who are now able to “buy up” to first class for $50.

  • Flyer1M at 5:19am July 16, 2014

    Someone needs to check the data – something appears not right. As a UA Platinum and MM member I have taken more than half of my travel elsewhere and from what I have read I suspect a lot of people has as well.

  • 98103 at 6:31am July 16, 2014

    These airline quality ranking things are like those weight loss plan ads in the paper. Read the fine print. “Your experience may vary”

  • IflyfromABE at 8:50am July 16, 2014

    Sure that this will so be taken out of context (already is, if I can judge by the comments above 🙂 )

    This is not:
    – A ranking of the best airlines
    – A ranking of the best frequent flyer programs
    – A ranking of the best flying experience
    – A ranking of anything hard product airline-related
    – A ranking of anything travel-related

    It is a ranking of Brand recognition and power. Pretty sure that Emirates would had plummeted in this ranking (if in scope.)


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