Airlines based on the U.S. have been reporting on-time performance to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) since 1987. Each airline’s goal for each flight is to arrive within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of its scheduled arrival time. Any more than that and it’s considered to be late.
The DOT, in turn, publishes a monthly report of how often airlines were on time, with a breakdown of how on time each airlines’ planes were. Then, after the end of the year, they report on the airline’s on-time records for the year. 2019’s report was just released.
As per the DOT’s numbers, for the full year 2019, U.S. airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 79.0%, which was slightly lower than 79.2% in 2018. This means an average of 1 in 5 planes was significantly (read: 15 minutes or more) late. Reasons could be as varied as mechanical issues, waiting for crew, runway backups, weather, etc. So some delays are admittedly not even in the hands of the airlines. But delays are delays, regardless of who or what caused them.
Of course, since 79% is an average of all the airlines, some carriers performed significantly better than others.
This was the 16th year in a row that Hawaiian Airlines came in first place for being on time, with 87.7% of its flights. Delta was in second place, with 83.5% of its flights landing on time, and Alaska Airlines took third place, at 81.3%.
On the other side of the coin, Frontier was the airline with the worst on-time record, at 73.1% (which sounds pretty bad but in 2018, only 69.4% of its flights landed on time – when it was again in the last place). JetBlue was right behind it, with 73.5% and United rounded out the bottom three, with 75.2% of its planes being on time.
Click here to see the DOT’s full 2019 report for this data and other end-of-year statistics.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary