No-frills Southwest has a Web site that echoes its corporate culture. Newcomer JetBlue reaps the benefits of having been born in the tech age, so consumers automatically turn to the Web to see its fares. And American Airlines has a good frequent-flier program, which gives customers a reason to frequent its Web page.
Those are three reasons that make those airlines' Internet sites favorites, according to Jupiter Media Metrix, which recently released a study that measures consumer behavior.
"Basically, the top sites have done a nice job, making it easy to book on their sites and making it a good experience," said Jared Blank, a travel analyst for Jupiter. "The fares are displayed early on in the process. If you have questions ... the phone number is displayed, or an e-mail. They have components of a lot of things you would want from a travel agent."
Getting the lowest fare isn't the only reason why some people are loyal to a particular airline's Web site. "What this index is about is that there are things other than price," Blank said, including customer service and the convenience of the flights. "It's all of these things combined."