Here’s where Bellingham International’s two major air carriers rank among airlines

Best airlines of 2018

WalletHub ranked the top major U.S. airlines based on several categories for the year 2018, including cheapest, best for pets and most comfortable.
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WalletHub ranked the top major U.S. airlines based on several categories for the year 2018, including cheapest, best for pets and most comfortable.

Nobody knows for sure — including the airline itself — who the original inspiration for the famous Eskimo face on the tails of Alaska Airlines planes was.

But there is one thing that is for sure — folks at the Seattle-based air carrier know how to do it right. Though it got knocked off the top spot in the ThePointsGuy.com’s recently released annual ranking of the Best and Worst U.S. Airlines — a throne it’s held for the past two years — Alaska dropped only one rung to No. 2.

Meanwhile, the other major carrier to serve Bellingham International Airport, Allegiant Airlines, checked in at No. 8, ahead of only Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines, according to The Points Guy 2019 rankings.

Delta Airlines slipped ahead of Alaska, thanks in part to 92.7 percent of its planes arriving on time, the industry’s largest network of lounges and its cities served, the story said. According to the group’s third annual survey, Delta only bumped 32 passengers out of more than 136 million Delta fliers.

Alaska barely lost its crown, said the website, which added that though it also had a “healthy on-time rating and was above average in almost every regard,” the size of its routes and lounge networks slid it back. But it still had the industry’s best frequent flyer plan, The Points Guy said.

Allegiant, which was making its first appearance in the rankings, was downgraded because of its lack of cabin features and lounges and its higher number of delayed flights and customer complaints, the website said. It’s loyalty program also ranked last.

The Points Guy came up with its rankings by looking at criteria like customer satisfaction, cabin comfort, timeliness, lost baggage and lounges. New categories like cancellations, bumps and revenue passenger miles, such as the use of airline passenger tickets/miles and frequent flyer programs, were added this year, Brian Kelly, CEO and Points Guy founder said in a release.

Lofty spots in internet rankings is nothing new for Alaska Airlines. In addition to topping The Points Guy list in 2017 and 2018, Alaska also topped Wallethub.com’s airline rankings in 2018, where it narrowly beat out Delta. Allegiant was not ranked in that list.

According to the Port of Bellingham website, Alaska returned to Bellingham International in 2009, after operating at the airport from 1989 to 1992, while its sister carrier, Horizon Air, has operated out of Bellingham since 1987. Allegiant has visited the City of Subdued Excitement since 2004.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.