Looks as if maybe "cheapest" is what you are looking for? All American carriers are "safe".
Why not use this webpage to search and see if you can find what you are looking for. When you find flights, you can book them directly on the airline's webpage:
You will have to search for some carriers, such as Southwest, directly on the airline's webpage.
i had just heard that some carriers were more or less reliable in different parts of the country :)
Nope. Not a huge difference. All are safe and these are short flights. Pick whoever has the best combo of price and flight times.Edited: 7:48 pm, January 27, 2014
Major US-based carriers are generally safe. I wouldn't worry about it.
Best is subjective. Often mentioned are Jetblue and Southwest. All the other major "legacy" carriers are otherwise more similar than different. Search your fare based on price and schedule. If you are picky, you can look at the type of equipment they use for the route as well in case you want to avoid certain types of planes.
>>i had just heard that some carriers were more or less reliable in different parts of the country :)<<
This is probably a garbled misunderstanding of US weather. Ice, snow, extreme cold, tornadoes, hurricanes- these can all affect flights. So, yes if you just look at delays/cancellations in December for, say, Chicago to New York City (both cities that can get very cold and/or snowy) odds are they'll be more than from Mobile, Alabama to Miami (cities that don't get very cold and/or snowy).
Jetblue and Southwest have high customer satisfaction reviews in addition to low fares.
Southwest and JetBlue have had huge on time issues lately along with everyone else. They are not immune to issues. Southwest so brine was worst in the country for a couple months late last year.
If you are hoping for service similar to Qantas, nope, none exist for Economy seats in the US. Bring your own food snacks and be prepared for a tighter squeeze than you thought possible, include overstressed airline employees on the ground and in the air.
Safe - yes, safety requirements are high for anything touching down on US soil .
Agree about the weather delays, anything is possible and right now it is a wild one out there!
Price Hint - you maybe eligible for at least one free stop enroute included in your overseas rate. Depends on your airline & farecode.
Enjoy your adventure!
Saying avoid AA, US, DL, and UA is saying avoid something like 75% of the flights in the country. All of those have better on time ratings than does Southwest and all of them have much larger route networks than Jet Blue. If you can fly those airlines, that's great. But I would not pay more to fly Southwest or Jet Blue or pick a less convenient time for one of them.
Jet Blue also flies from LGA, by the way, not only JFK. And the New York area has at least 5 airports I've used. EWR, JFK, and LGA for going into the city and Westchester and Islip if you are going to the suburbs. If you're coming from the city, you'd want to limit your searches to EWR (Newark) or LGA. JFK's further away from Manhattan by a good bit.