Safest U.S. Airlines

The good news for shaky flyers is that United States airlines, on average, have the best safety track record there is. According to The Daily Beast, on a typical American airline, your chances of dying on a flight are about one in 13 million. The safety record is measured in various ways, but Southwest, JetBlue, and Delta Airlines consistently come up as some of the safest airlines to fly.


The commonly used measurement for safest airlines is the number of fatalities per million miles traveled. In this ranking, according to a 2009 Consumer Warning Network article, Southwest comes first, having had no fatalities in its history. Delta comes in at .17, Northwest at .21, Continental at .24, US Airways at .28, United Airlines at .31, Alaska Airlines at .33, and American Airlines at .40.

In August 2009, The Daily Beast measured fatalities per million take-offs, in order to weigh some of the smaller airlines in the study. They came up with AirTran being the safest airline, followed by JetBlue, Southwest, and US Airways.


Many airlines have a record of no crashes at all. As of September 2010, Southwest, JetBlue, American TransAir and Hawaiian Airlines have never experienced a crash. American Airlines has had 16 crashes since the 1950s, according to

Types of Planes

According to AirSafe, the AirBus A340, Boeing 717 and Boeing 777 are the safest commercial aircrafts in rotation today, with no crashes as of September 2010. This is followed by the Airbus A330 with one crash and the Boeing 737 (600-900 series) with six crashes. Rates of safety are measured at number of incidents per million miles.

Safety Measures

Airlines take several precautions to prevent plane crashes, and are continually checking planes and updating these measures to continue to reduce accidents. In 2005, the government passed a mandate requiring all commercial aircraft to install computer devices that acted as monitors, telling a pilot of terrain, upcoming turbulence or if the plane is flying too low. According to NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System reports, these devices had prevented at least eight crashes as of 2006.