What is the Favorite Airline of Virginia Residents?

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Spring break is here and that means people are flying south, leaving the moderate temperatures of Virginia for warmer climates, and beaches, elsewhere.

With so many Virginians heading to the airport, BetVirginia.com thought it would be a good time to look at Virginia residents’ favorite airlines. As usual with these surveys, there are caveats. Passengers’ favorite airlines aren’t necessarily the ones with the best in-flight movies, fanciest snacks, and warmest face towels, they’re the airlines that are conveniently located and go to the places that flyers want to go. Or are the cheapest.

Utilizing Google Trends, BetVirginia.com took a break from Virginia sports betting and analyzed the most popular airlines of state residents by looking at the search results of each airline over the last 90 days (December to March). 

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Favorite Airlines of Virginia Residents

RankAirlineInterest Over Time
1American Airlines75
2Delta Air Lines60
3Breeze Airlines37
4Spirit Airlines35
5United Airlines34

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American Airlines Tops Others as Top Airline in Virginia

It’s no surprise, therefore that No. 1 with wings is American, which has the most planes in the world and flies the most passengers, and also has a hub in Washington, D.C., at Reagan National, where it has around half the flights. American also flies to more than 250 destinations in the U.S. Basically if there’s an airport near a city, American stops there. Although American filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, only two years later it merged with US Airways to form the largest airline in the world — making it the kind of favorite that would dominate at Virginia betting apps.

No. 2 Delta Air Lines was founded in 1925 and first flew in 1929. It is the oldest airline still flying in the U.S. It’s so old, “airlines” was still two words when it took to the skies. Delta filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and then acquired Northwest Airlines a few years later. Bankruptcy is very good for airlines. Delta flies just about everywhere, including Washington, but doesn’t use D.C. as a hub. There is, however, a Sky Club Lounge at Reagan National.

No. 3 is Breeze Airways, which is what some folks called Boeing after a plane’s cabin door fell off. Breeze is the baby of the group, having been founded in 2018, but airborne since 2021. Like Spirit Airlines, it’s a low-cost, low-frills way to fly. Breeze flies 38 planes to 44 destinations and also does not have a hub in Washington. My sense is that people search Breeze when they’re looking for cheap flights and then realize they’ll have to take a flight from D.C., Richmond, Norfolk, etc., to get to the cheap flight.

No. 4 Spirit Airlines is so popular as a punchline on late night talk shows and “Saturday Night Live,” it’s easy to forget the company actually sends planeloads of passengers into the sky. The jokes, however, may be a reason the airline is so popular with Virginians. It does not base crews in D.C., so options are limited — Spirit flies to around 80 U.S. destinations. Spirit has also been in the news recently. It had hoped to merge with JetBlue, but the merger has been called off for now. Spirit just can’t find any love. In 2022, the airline was going to be taken over by Frontier Airlines, but Spirit shareholders rejected the offer.

In fifth place is United Airlines, which was founded in 1926 as Varney Air Lines (again, two words), the year after Delta, and got off the ground in 1931. United is still a big international player in the sky, and uses Washington-Dulles as a hub, so it’s easy to see why it’s popular with Virginians — at least northern Virginians. United is the largest carrier at Dulles with around 65% of the market share. Like every major air carrier, United filed for bankruptcy in 2002, and it merged with Continental Airlines in 2010.

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Howard Gensler is contributing writer to BetVirginia.com. Gensler a veteran journalist who’s worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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