America's Best & Worst Airlines
On-time performance: 70.7%
Here’s the good news: the worst on-time arrival rate in 2008 was 68% (American Airlines), so even the last-place airline is getting better. The bad news: even though this Delta Connection Carrier improved its score year over year, it still finished last.
On-time performance: 73.4%
American came in last place in 2008, but even its strong move from 68% only bumped it up one spot in our list.
#17 Atlantic Southeast
On-time performance: 74.1%
This regional airline edged up 2 percentage points in on-time arrival, but still dropped two spots on the overall ranking.
On-time performance: 74.5%
JetBlue didn’t appear in the bottom five spots in 2008, but even though its percentage of on-time arrivals increased in 2009 (up from 72.6%) it dropped from the #14 spot.
On-time performance: 74.9%
Mesa increased its on-time arrivals, but other airlines did it better: Mesa still dropped from the #13 spot.
On-time performance: 75%
In 2008, United came in as the second-worst airline for on-time performance, so it’s promising to see it has moved a full 6 percentage points higher and out of the bottom 5 spots.
On-time performance: 75.3%
In 2008, Continental was squarely in the middle of the pack—it was the #10 airline, with 74.5% of its flights arriving on time—so it’s lost a little steam.
On-time performance: 75.5%
ExpressJet operates as Continental Express, and in terms of on-time arrivals is in the same league as Continental. Last year, ExpressJet’s 73.7% gave it a #11 ranking.
#11 American Eagle
On-time performance: 76.1%
American Eagle made a strong move in 2009. Last year the airline was #4 on the worst carriers for on-time performance with 71%. This year it’s moved out of the bottom 5 and solidly into the middle of the pack.
On-time performance: 76.9%
Though most airlines increased their on-time performance, Delta’s dropped ever so slightly, from 77.3%. Unfortunately, that means slipping from the #7 spot, though the airline still remains in the top 10.
On-time performance: 77.6%
There wasn’t much movement for Alaska, which gained 1 percentage point in on-time arrivals from 2008 but slipped from #8.
On-time performance: 78.4%
AirTran’s jump of 2 percentage points from 2008 was enough to help it snag the #8 spot from Alaska.
On-time performance: 79.6%
Northwest made a big move this year; its improvement of 6 percentage points from 2008 meant a jump of 5 spots in the rankings and a solid spot in the top 10.
On-time performance: 80%
Frontier was booted out of the top 5 this year, despite an increase in on-time performance from 78%.
#5 US Airways
On-time performance: 80.4%
Though US Airways slipped less than 2 percentage points from 2008, the surge from a couple regional carriers cost the airline its #3 spot.
On-time performance: 81.4%
This regional carrier—which is the primary United Express carrier along the West Coast, as well as a Delta Connection and Midwest Connect carrier—increased its 2008 performance (78%) and its ranking (#5).
On-time performance: 83%
While Southwest’s performance increased this year (it was 80% in 2008), that wasn’t quite enough to hold onto its #2 ranking.
On-time performance: 83.4%
Pinnacle—which operates flights for Northwest Airlink and Delta Connection—didn’t crack the top 5 in 2008 (it was #6 with 77.4%), but this year flew to the #2 spot.
On-time performance: 89.5%
Once again, Hawaiian outperformed all other carriers. Should airline executives be worried that the on-time percentage dropped from 92% last year? Probably not—it’s still ahead by a healthy margin.