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Delta ranks 2nd among nation’s best airlines in the latest ranking

Airlines are required to report data on everything from mishandled baggage to complaints about discrimination to animal injuries and deaths to the federal government.

The data is then published by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics and made available to the public, with year-end statistics released a few months after the year actually ends.

That gives researchers and others a bevy of data to draw from for rankings of airlines based on a formula of their choosing.

A recent ranking by WalletHub included an even broader array of statistics, and put Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines in the No. 2 position among the nation’s best airlines. Alaska Airlines took the No. 1 spot.

Delta had the lowest rate of cancellations, delays, mishandled baggage and denied boardings, WalletHub noted, making it the most reliable airline.

That’s also what put Delta in the No. 1 spot in another recent ranking, the Airline Quality Rating by researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University.

But WalletHub called Alaska Airlines the safest airline. Its analysis included data on aviation incidents and accidents, fatal injuries and other injuries in those incidents and accidents.

Southwest Airlines, the second-largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, came in 9th in the WalletHub ranking of the best airlines.

Ultra low-cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines were crowned the cheapest airlines. But in the overall ranking, Spirit came in 4th, while Frontier Airlines came in last place among the 12 carriers ranked.

JetBlue was deemed the most comfortable airline in the report, based on free amenities such as wi-fi, legroom and complimentary snacks and beverages.

WalletHub said it assigned points to each metric “based on our subjective view of its importance.”We generally allocated points based on common sense,” the personal finance website said in the report.

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