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These Are The Least Reliable Major Airlines In The U.S. Right Now

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We all love to travel, but choosing hotels and airlines can bring our travel plans to a screeching halt. You have airlines going bankrupt, airlines merging, and even new airlines just starting out.

So how do you know which one to choose? Well, if you're shameless travel nerds like us you look at the latest data.

People sitting in an airplane

Sometimes, your route may be limited, while others have a handful of airlines to choose from. By looking at the most recent statistics, it can help you make an informed decision to hopefully avoid any travel hiccups.

These are the least reliable major airlines in the U.S. right now based on data from Jan 3, 2023 to Dec 20, 2023:


One of the most hip airlines still has its share of issues. JetBlue flies to some really cool vacation spots, such as the Caribbean, but travelers should be aware of a high level of delays.

jetblue planes

Almost 6,000 cancellations took place, with leads in an unwanted category of most delayed flights with over 31%.

Hopefully the airline gets back on track in time for the summer launch of their exciting new route to Tulum for the first time ever.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier is a shameless low-cost carrier who wears that badge proudly. No matter what travelers pay for airfare, cancellations and delays are still quite annoying.

frontier plane in Washington DC

The Denver-based budget airline canceled nearly 3,000 flights, and over 31% of flights were significantly delayed, just a hair behind JetBlue.

Frontier will do its best to get you from A to B without all the bells and whistles. Don't expect high-end amenities or any freebies on board.

Spirit Airlines

Somehow Spirit has become the butt of the joke in terms of U.S. air travel, yet they have been in business since the 1990s and travelers continue to hop aboard and pack in like sardines.

spirit planes at Cancun airport

Whether it's an outstanding Public Relations Department or travelers are just willing to bite the bullet to save on airfare, Spirit has powered through their iffy image.

To their credit, they have made improvements such as equipping planes with Wi-Fi. On the downside, they did cancel nearly 4,000 flights and have delayed travelers, with nearly 29% of flights put on hold.

Allegiant Airlines

One of the smaller airlines in America, even for low-cost category standards, Allegiant is known for saving dollars on airfare.

allegiant planes

With one of the quirkiest route networks mixed of major hubs and lesser-known cities, this budget airline often backs up the old saying, “you get what you pay for”.

Although the airline has a very respectable cancellation of just 0.5% of flights, their delays are just behind Spirit with over a quarter of flights delayed.

But hey, at least they sponsor a dope stadium in Las Vegas and recently opened their own waterfront resort in Florida, so it's not all bad!

Hawaiian Airlines

Despite some controversies regarding Hawaii's tourism after the Maui wildfire, travelers are still heading to one of the most scenic beach getaway states in the U.S.

Hawaiian airlines plane

Whether you choose to visit Maui or not, taking the namesake airline comes with the risks of of getting there on time as it cracks the top 5 of unreliable airlines, with 24% of flights arriving later than scheduled.

On the bright side, arrivals were only about half an hour late compared to double that amount with other airlines.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest has tried to put their winter 2022 meltdown to rest, but it was just announced a gargantuan fine is being charged to one of Americans' favorite carriers.

Travelers don't care what the airline has to pay as long as it doesn't affect them. What they do care about is having their ticket honored.

grounded southwest plane

Last winter's fiasco aside, the airline still had nearly 13,000 cancellations and 33,000 delayed arrivals through 2023.

Even with over 23% of flights delayed, as the year rolled on, the mega-popular airline seemed to be trending upward with new scheduling software, which is fortunate for Southwest loyalists since they offer the most flights in the U.S.

Rounding Out The Top 10

Behind Southwest, there are 4 more major airlines we measured to see how reliable they are. As of now, the household names, plus one West Coast carrier, are the most reliable.

delta plane in the clouds
  • American Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Alaska Air
  • Delta Air Lines

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This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Francis Williams

Saturday 23rd of December 2023

I strongly disagree about JET BLUE being on the unreliable list! SPIRIT airlines should be on the most unreliable and useless airlines today!!