The US Airlines With the Fewest Delays and Cancellations May Surprise You
Spoiler alert: Southwest Airlines had more delays and cancellations than any other airline, by a landslide
This year has been rife with flight cancellations and delays. In fact, 128,934 flights were scrapped from January to July, according to a report from Reuters, up about 11% from pre-pandemic levels. That is, of course, largely due to ceaseless staffing shortages across the industry. But, per a new study from Price4Limo — which looked at a year’s worth of data from the from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics — out of the nine major U.S. carriers, some fared far worse than others. That said, exactly which ones may surprise you.
At the top slot for cancellations in delays in 2022 was Southwest Airlines with 32,779 cancellations — more than 3,600 more than the second-worst airline, as Travel Pulse points out — and 16.8 million-plus delayed minutes, which isn’t exactly a revelation. According to a recent report from ZD Net Business, Southwest pilots have alleged that “the company’s technology is simply not up to the task of efficiently scheduling staffing. To such a degree that pilots often have their flights changed and find themselves out of position, sometimes not being able to immediately return home.”
The second worst after Southwest was the world’s biggest airline: American, with more than 29,000 flights cancelled and delaying over 183,000 delayed. But, again, not unsurprising. American Airlines has already dropped 31,000 placeholder flights from its November schedule.
After American Airlines was Delta with 11,720 flight cancellations (although that’s represents just 1.3% of the carrier’s schedule, which is obviously noteworthy, and Delta had the lowest delay right of all of the airlines), followed by United and JetBlue. Here’s where it get’s interesting, though. The next few? As in the airlines with the fewest amount of cancellations and delays? Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier — the three ultra-low cost carriers. Of course, you can (and should) take that with a grain of salt. Frontier, for example, operates around 400 departures daily whereas Southwest operates closer to 3,000. Perspective. Still, maybe there is something to be said for budget airlines in these turbulent times.
Lastly, the most reliable airline, based on Price4Limo’s data, was Alaska Airlines, with less than 5,700 flights cancelled (2.5%) and just under 45,000 others delayed (19.5%). At present, Alaska Air Group serves more than 115 destinations with nearly 1,200 daily flights in the U.S. and to more destinations from the West Coast than any other airline, so good on them. Condé Nast’s 2022 Reader’s Choice Award ranked it fifth best citing “its reliability, friendly flight crews, and generous awards plan,” but we would argue that it should be higher. They also rated Southwest sixth so, again…perspective.
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