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While flight delays may be something we have to learn to live with this summer, that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything to help minimize the risk of them happening – and there are four airlines in particular which are your best bet when it comes to seeking to avoid delays. No airline has a perfect record so far this summer, but in a climate where the worst-performing airlines in the United States have experienced delays on between a quarter and a third of all their flights, choosing the right one airline to fly with could really make or break your trip.
Luckily for travelers, we know the airlines that have most frequently departed on time over the past few months – and caused the most delays for their passengers. Here’s a rundown of the four airlines that are best at avoiding flight delays, and which airlines you should look to avoid altogether.
Delta has been one of the top-performing airlines in the United States in recent months when it comes to avoiding delays. The Atlanta-based airline put some of its rivals to shame, with just 19% of its flights delayed in May and 21% facing a delay in June. While those numbers may seem high, the worst-performing airline for those months, JetBlue, had an average percentage of delayed flights of over 30%, meaning one in three flights were unable to depart on time. hour – that’s a lot of angry travelers.
Delta’s relatively strong performance came at a cost to travelers as thousands of flights were cut from the airline’s route network to ensure they could continue to deliver a high level of service – a decision which seems to have paid off for the second in the country. largest airline. While flying with Delta doesn’t guarantee an on-time departure, it does give travelers a better chance of a smooth flight experience than any other airline in the United States today.
Not far behind Delta was United Airlines, which has consistently posted the second-lowest delay numbers of any US airline in recent months. In May and June, just 23% of the airline’s total flights were delayed, significantly lower than the second-worst performing airline, Southwest, which saw 30% of its flight delayed last month. Despite their strong performances, United said a significant part of their delays were not actually their fault.
Just last week, United chief operating officer Jon Roitman attributed the airline’s high delay percentage to issues with air traffic control staff.
“We estimate that more than 50% of our delay minutes and 75% of our cancellations over the past four months were due to FAA traffic management initiatives – these have been particularly acute in Newark and Florida” , Roitman said, before adding, “These ATC challenges can not only disrupt the schedule, but they also burn us crew time throughout the month.
Air traffic problems or not, United are one of the safest bets to avoid delays this summer.
Spirit and Alaska
In the wake of United and Delta, we find Spirit Airlines and Alaska Airlines. So far this month, both airlines have recorded relatively low delay rates, while posting impressive on-time performance figures of 80% and 81% respectively on July 3 and 4 – the second and third highest totals. high from all airlines in the United States. , behind only Delta. Having held up so well throughout the hectic 4th of July holiday period, Spirit and Alaska are likely solid choices for travelers looking to avoid delays this summer.
On the other side of the coin, some airlines should be avoided whenever possible if you want to get to your destination on time. Allegiant Airlines saw up to 39% of its flights delayed on July 3 and 4, and JetBlue is close behind with 36% of its flights delayed. The third worst performing airline was Southwest, which saw 29% of its flights delayed over the same period.
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