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These Are The 5 Least Reliable Airlines In The U.S. Right Now (And Which Are Best!)

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There's nothing worse than flight delays when you travel… except for maybe flight cancelations.

Air travel is hectic enough as it is without having to worry about delays and cancelations too. You can alleviate a lot of stress by choosing a more reliable airline for your flight, even if it does cost a little more.

If you want to avoid delayed and canceled flights, these are the least reliable airlines in the U.S. right now according to new data from aviation analytics company Cirium. We will also cover the top 3 airlines right now to travel smoothly in 2024.

View of an American Airlines plane

5. Southwest Airlines

Southwest isn't as bad as some of the airlines further down on this list, but it still has the dubious distinction of making the top five least reliable airlines.

In January of this year, only 74.31% of flights were on time, meaning that over a quarter of all outbound flights were either delayed or canceled.

Southwest Aircraft

4. American Airlines

Next up is American Airlines. With a 73.86% rate of on-time arrivals, this airline also isn't doing so well when it comes to reliability.

Although flying with American Airlines can be a mixed bag, it still remains within the top three favorite airlines of American travelers along with Southwest.

American Airlines Aircraft

3. Spirit Airlines

Spirit is one of the most disliked airlines in the world and part of that is due to its unreliability. (Travelers also hate Spirit's uncomfortable planes, bare-bones service, and excessive hidden fees.)

In January of this year, just 73.46% of Spirit flights were on time.

Once again, this means that over a quarter of all flights were delayed or canceled, leaving travelers frustrated with a lack of reliability.

Spirit Planes At Cancun At The Tarmac In Cancun Airport, Mexico

2. Frontier Airlines

With Frontier being the second half of the most disliked airline duo along with Spirit, it's no surprise that this airline also has a terrible track record when it comes to reliability.

Only 72.92% of flights during the first month of this year were on time, which makes for a very high percentage of delayed or canceled flights.

Frontier Airlines

1. JetBlue Airways

Finally, the airline with the worst reliability in January 2024 was JetBlue. This airline had an abysmal 71.76% rate of on-time flights.

With so many flights being delayed or canceled, JetBlue is the worst U.S. airline to fly with right now if you're concerned about getting to your destination on time.

JetBlue Aircraft

Why Flight Reliability May Improve

Its good to keep in mind the most recent data provided by Cirium may have been affected by an increase of delays and cancelations due to winter storms.

So the reason many of these airlines have taken a hit of 5 to 10 percentage points compared to their usual on-time rates is because of the time of year.

This winter has been particularly bad when it comes to flight delays and cancelations, but things tend to improve as the weather gets better. While spring brings better weather for air travel, increased passenger traffic could lead to further delays.

southwest planes in a snowstorm during winter

The Most Reliable Airlines For 2024 For Smooth Travel

Based on the most recent data, these are the most reliable airlines in the United States.

  • Delta Air Lines, with an on-time arrival rate of 79.7%.
  • United Airlines, with an on-time arrival rate of 78.6%
  • Alaska Airlines, with an on-time arrival rate of 75.4%

As you can see, Delta is your best bet when it comes to the most reliable airlines.

After Delta, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines came in second and third place respectively for the most on-time arrivals at the start of this year.

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