The Five Least Delayed Airlines in America

Next time you're in a rush or a mad connection bender, consider these five airlines to pull through for you.

Hopper Editors - Oct. 26, 2017

When the bags are packed, the sunglasses shined, and those jealousy-inducing Facebook statuses proclaiming your holiday jaunt for all to see, the last thing you want is for something to go wrong last minute. And what worse culprit than the dreaded flight delay — long the denier of sunny beaches and luxury hotels; the dreaded harbinger of departure lounge boredom and long waits on the runway.

To help make sure everything goes to plan this year, we’ve put together this list of America's least delayed airlines, making use of all stats so you don’t have to. Just keep in mind that the national average is 76.7% on time.

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5. US Airways is on time 80.64% of the time


Photo by Aero Icarus/Flickr.

Soon to join with its larger American brother under the American Airlines name, US Airways continues to trump its merger partner with 3% more total on-time flights. Overall US airways delivered 80.64% of its flights on-time, with just under 5.4% of delays reportedly being caused by a fault in the airline’s own management, administration or systems. The largest cause of late flights with US between May 2013 and 2014 actually turned out to be due to the National Aviation System, including things like minor weather disruptions and air traffic control.

4. Virgin America is on time 80.92% of the time


Photo by Binder.donedat/Flickr.

With its focus on long-haul connections from coast to coast, and a number of new routes to Mexico, it’s easy to see how delays with Virgin America could lead to disrupted holidays or missed business meetings. Just as well then that the airline comes out in the top five most punctual carriers for 2013, boasting a whopping 80.92% of flights on-time. Perhaps notably, aside from general National Aviation System delays, most late flights with Virgin were knock-on effects caused by aircraft arriving late at their initial destination.

3. Delta is on time 82.64% of the time


Photo by Fly For Fun/Flickr.

With more than 5,000 flights moving in and out of Delta’s hubs in the US on a daily basis, the pressure is really on for this one to get it right. And get it right it did, because between May 2013 and May 2014, Delta posted a soaring 82.64% of on-time flights, with more than a third of all delays being attributed to influences outside of the airline’s control. There is room for improvement though and it will be interesting to see if Delta can drag the 5% of delays they claim responsibility for into even lower figures next year.

2. Alaska Airlines is on time 87.58% of the time


Photo by InSapphoWeTrust/Flickr.

There must be something in that hardened Alaskan blood that simply won’t let wind, storm and snow get in the way, because the state carrier only let extreme weather conditions affect 0.31% of their flights last year, causing a welcome knock-on effect that meant just a measly 3% of flights were delayed because of late arriving aircraft. Overall the airline comes in second, with an admirable 87.58% record for getting into town on time.

1. Hawaiian Airlines is on time 93.34% of the time


Photo by Simon_sees/Flickr.

We knew that we could trust those laid-back islanders to deliver us to the cocktail bars of Honolulu and back as scheduled, and with a chart-topping on-time percentage of 93.34, it seems they did the same for many a passenger last year too. But the airline’s other stats are also truly remarkable, with just 0.1% of flights affected by extreme weather and just 2.2% of connecting aircraft arriving late at their destination. What’s more, the blame clearly hasn’t simply been shifted, because Hawaiian Air reports a measly 0.15% of delays coming from influences outside of their control. Don’t underestimate the power of aloha!

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