The Most Punctual Airline in the US Is No Surprise

It’s won the honor 16 years in a row

\Nathan Klima / The Boston Globe via Getty Images
By Kirk Miller / February 26, 2020 11:48 am

Defying the whole “island time” stereotype, Hawaiian Airlines had the most on-time arrivals of any US airline in 2019, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It was the airline’s 16th year on top. Hawaiian had 87.7% of its flights — and flights from its branded code-share partners — arrive on time or within 15 minutes of the airline’s schedule, well above the 79% average (which was a slight dip overall from 2018). Delta and Alaska followed, with Frontier, JetBlue and United Airlines at the bottom three.

(Courtesy of the Department of Transportation)

According to government figures, Hawaiian also had the lowest rate of canceled flights (0.4%).

Some other interesting stats from the report:

  • In 2019, the number of tarmac delays over three hours on domestic flights rose from 202 to 302. 
  • In contrast, international tarmac delays over four hours dropped from 61 to 26.
  • An average of 5.85 out of 1,000 checked bags were mishandled last year, the first year that number had been reported. Wheelchairs and scooters were mishandled at a 1.54% rate.
  • The bump or “oversale” rate among airlines was just 0.24 per 10,000 passengers, a slight rise from 0.14 in 2018.
  • And surprise: Complaints about airline service to the DOT dropped 1.4 percent last year, though complaints about treatment of disabled passengers was up 9.4 percent and discrimination complaints were up 9.3 percent.

Two travel data services recently offered their own stats on punctuality that offered a more global viewpoint and slightly different results than the DOT. Cirium had the Russian carrier Aeroflot as the most on-time global mainline airline (Delta came in third but first for the North America), while OAG awarded that honor to Indonesia’s Garuda Indonesia (Hawaiian came in fourth, but first in North America).

Related: This Is the World’s Safest Airline for 2020