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Jetblue, Southwest top annual list of family-friendly airlines

Lex Ruscil

Discount carrier JetBlue (JBLU) is a clear favorite for parents traveling with kids, according to The Points Guy’s latest annual ranking of the best domestic airlines for families, with Southwest Airlines (LUV) a close second.

Navigating an airport alone can be a hassle, but traveling with children in tow can be even more difficult. For that reason, the travel site put together a list that gives flyers a sense of which airlines give them more bang for their buck. Other names in the top 10 included Delta (DAL), United (UAL), American Airlines (AAL) and Spirit (SAVE).

“JetBlue does a lot right...they have free snacks, they have the largest economy seats in the U.S., they have entertainment, they got free Direct TV, they got free Wi-Fi and they make it pretty easy to get a seat assignment without paying extra,” Summer Hall, TPG’s director of travel told YFi PM.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR JETBLUE - JetBlue reveals its newest aircraft BK Blue which is dedicated to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018 in New York. (Donald Traill/JetBlue via AP Images)

The carrier also lets families combine miles together without extra charges, something made easier by its popular TrueBlue points program.

The Points Guy ranking is a useful resource because families who take trips together can come with lots of baggage — literally. Things that are normally easy for one person to navigate are that much harder to do. Depending on the children’s age, little tasks get complicated by the extra tasks and carry-ons parents have to carry to keep kids amused and clean.

Southwest offers free bags, a set family boarding time after Group A for children 6 and under, and an extensive route network with no blackout dates. This year, the discount carrier dropped to number 2 on TPG’s list — largely because it doesn’t allow travelers to book trips more than six months in advance. For people planning trips with family members, planning in advance is critical, TPG points out.

Best Airlines for Families in 2019 according to The Points Guy: 1. JetBlue Airways 2. Southwest Airlines 3. Hawaiian Airlines 4. Alaska Airlines 5. Delta Air Lines 6. United Airlines 7. American Airlines 8. Frontier 9. Spirit 10. Allegiant Air

Meanwhile, Allegiant Air (ALGT) came in dead last for a few critical reasons.

“Allegiant doesn’t have really a traditional frequent flier program...no built-in entertainment, seat assignment costs extra,” Hall told Yahoo Finance.

“All those things common for all of the low cost carriers but Allegiant just took an extra hit with not even having traditional miles you can use for your reward flight,” she added.