Airlines: Best & Worst

When it comes to getting you from here to there on time, the number one airline is Alaska Airlines. The worst is United. That’s the word from FlightStats Inc., which tracked more than 8 million airline trips taken in 2013. Delays were up. Cancellations increased. About 78 percent of U.S. flights arrived on time in 2013, compared with 80 percent in 2012, which is considered a significant decline. Basically, 2013 was one of the worst ever for airline reliability. What this means in real numbers is that hundreds of flights a day were delayed. The number of flights delayed excessively by 45 minutes or more increased 13 percent, while the number of flights canceled jumped 15 percent, reports the Wall Street Journal. The top nine airlines ranked for on-time performance:

  1. Alaska
  2. Delta
  3. Virgin America
  4. Southwest
  5. JetBlue
  6. US Airways
  7. Frontier
  8. American
  9. United

The Wall Street Journal also reports:

  • More luggage was lost or delayed in 2013 due largely to Southwest Airlines. Southwest mishandled more bags than United or Delta combined.
  • In terms of good news, fewer passengers were involuntarily bumped from all flights, and fewer customers overall complained to the U.S. Department of Transportation about airline service.
  • This was the worst year in the last five years for flight delays of 45 minutes or longer, which is surprising since there were also fewer flights due to airline mergers and capacity reductions.
  • Delta had the lowest rate of canceled flights at 0.34 percent of its schedule. The industry average for canceled flights in 2013 was 1.65 percent — almost five times higher than Delta’s rate. American had the most canceled flights with nearly 2 percent of its schedule.
  • United had the highest rate among major airlines of involuntarily bumping ticketed passengers from flights.