As the world moves beyond a chaotic summer into the fall and winter seasons, it can be helpful to check in with current trends regarding flight delays and cancellations. To aid in this, Travel Off Path has combed through data from FlightAware to determine the U.S. airlines with the least number of delays and cancellations this month.
This summer, extensive delays and cancellations plagued airlines as staff shortages and an explosion in travel demand combined to create the perfect storm for air travel chaos. Travelers were eager to return to their world travels after two years of being cooped up due to the pandemic, and the aviation industry was unprepared. As we move through the shoulder season, we can look to see how delays and cancellations stack up next to the summer’s chaos.
Using data from FlightAware, Travel Off Path looked at delay and cancellation rates from September 1st through September 28th. For this article, only mainline passenger airlines with a market cap of $1 Billion or greater were considered. These include; Southwest, American, Delta, United, JetBlue, Spirit, Alaska, Frontier, and Allegiant. Data is included for each carrier, and the top 5 best-performing carriers are bolded.
U.S. Airlines Ranked In Order Of Least Delays
1) Delta Air Lines – 11.5% of flights delayed totaling 9,077
2) United Air Lines – 14.1% of flights delayed totaling 8,266
3) Alaska Airlines – 16% of flights delayed totaling 3,169
4) Spirit Airlines – 17.5% of flights delayed totaling 3,665
5) American Airlines – 19.5% of flights delayed totaling 3,665
6) Allegiant Air – 21.5% of flights delayed totaling 3,665
7) Southwest Airlines – 23% of flights delayed totaling 3,665
8) Frontier Airlines – 25.7% of flights delayed totaling 3,665
9) JetBlue Airways – 28.9% of flights delayed totaling 3,665
Delay Insights for U.S. Carriers
Compared to the month of August, every single carrier above has improved its delay percentage. As a result, the average delay time across all the above carriers decreased from 51 minutes to 44 minutes. Southwest and Allegiant both have made significant delay percentage improvements over the last month, down from 32% and 30.2%, respectively.
Significant delay reductions can likely be explained by the difference in total scheduled flights between the two months. In August, there were 889,426 flights scheduled, while in September, there were 414,257. Having less than half the number of flights to keep up with surely made it easier for carriers to keep pace with demand throughout September.
U.S. Airlines Ranked In Order Of Least Cancelations
1) Delta Air Lines – .5% of flights canceled, totaling 403
2) Alaska Airlines – .7% of flights canceled, totaling 132
3) United Air Lines – .9% of flights canceled, totaling 520
4) Southwest Airlines – 1.1% of flights canceled, totaling 1,221
5) Allegiant Air – 1.2% of flights canceled, totaling 79
6) American Airlines – 1.3% of flights canceled, totaling 1,033
7) Spirit Airlines – 1.6% of flights canceled, totaling 337
8) JetBlue Airways – 2.0% of flights canceled, totaling 515
9) Frontier Airlines – 2.1% of flights canceled, totaling 284
Cancelation Insights for U.S. Carriers
Cancellations also decreased overall during the month of September. Compared to August, when the cancellation rate was 1.5% of all flights between the above carriers, September saw a reduction of .4%. In September, 1.1% of all flights between the above carriers were canceled, for a total of 4,524. Compared to August’s total of 13,512 flights canceled, September looked to be a significant improvement.
Putting It All Together
Delays and cancellations are always going to be a problem travelers face. However, as we move beyond the pandemic and the aviation industry catches up to travel demand once more, the problem should begin to fade into the background. Airports and airlines were incredibly overwhelmed this summer and didn’t have the staff to keep up with travel demand. Now that the high season of summer has passed, the aviation industry has been given a bit of breathing room to try to bring on new hires.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com