Travel should be nothing but rainbows and happiness. All too often, though, it turns into add-on charges, bedbugs, and airplane seats that squish you into positions no human should have to maintain.
It doesn’t have to be that way. There are travel companies that make your journey happy again. Take a look at the best of the best.
Top Online Travel Aggregator: Expedia
After some shaky years with unhappy customers (we’re looking at you, 2012 to 2014), Expedia is making people happy in a big way again. The American Customer Satisfaction Index gives it a whopping 80 percent score, with customers feeling empowered when they use the site. Perhaps they appreciate the customized offers and the ready availability of user reviews.
Top Specialized Online Travel Site: HotelPlanner
This site is the one happy customers use when they’re making arrangements for a significant event, like a wedding, a family reunion, or a group trip to watch a favorite team play out of town. It gets big thumbs-ups as well for helping resolve problems when other sites or hotel chains have screwed up reservations. That always gets a thumbs-up in our book.
Top Airline: JetBlue
Yes, JetBlue took the top spot, but don’t worry, all you fans of Southwest and Alaska Airlines (formerly known as Virgin America for some) — they come in close behind. Customers are happy with their check-in process, the ease of making a reservation, and the friendliness and helpfulness of the flight crew. (Not getting dragged off a plane screaming for help also boosts these happiness ratings!)
Top Hotel Chain: Hilton
But don’t feel left out if you’re an Exclusive Club Member (or whatever they call it) at Marriott or Hyatt, because they’re nipping at Hilton’s heels in making customers happy. The very best version of Hilton, by the way? Hilton Garden Inn. You and other customers are fans of how easy it is to make a reservation and check in — though you wouldn’t mind some upgrades in what the loyalty program offers.
Top Car Rentals: Alamo
Sure, you can Uber in most places, but sometimes you want a car of your own when you land in a new city. If so, look for the best deals from Alamo, which also gives you extra discounts when you want to add a second driver to the contract. Lots of raves for this lesser-known company for its cheap prices and how very easy it is to return your car when you’re done.