The Airlines With the Most Delays This Year, According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Allegiant Air had the worst on time performance while Hawaiian Airlines had the best.

Airlines in the United States had a chaotic year with more than 22% of all flights suffering from delays or cancelations, with some carriers having even more issues.

Overall, the 10 major U.S. airlines had an on-time percentage of 77.13% from July 2021 through July 2022, according to Bureau of Transportation statistics reviewed by Travel + Leisure. Issues included everything from airline-caused delays to problems due to weather, late-arriving aircraft, and more. 

Of all the delays in the last year, air carriers were responsible for 7.83% of them.

Allegiant Air had the lowest on-time percentage of any of the major 10 airlines, being on time only 61.96% of the time from July 2021 to July 2022, according to the data. Of Allegiant’s delays and cancellations, 8.45% were an air carrier delay and 4.34% were due to a canceled or diverted flight.

A spokesperson for Allegiant pointed to high demand and staff shortages in addition to outside factors like weather as a reason for delays. 

“As an airline that is 100% focused on leisure travel, we are keenly attuned to the needs of our customers and understand how frustrating it can be when a flight is delayed,” the spokesperson told T+L. “We are actively working to mitigate the labor shortage by offering extra incentives to attract and retain key employees, including higher wages, bonuses, work schedule flexibility and more.”

Following Allegiant is JetBlue, which had an on-time percentage of 65.57% during the same time period. In total, 13.47% of JetBlue’s issues were due to an air carrier delay.

A spokesperson for JetBlue pointed to the carrier’s many flights in the “congested weather-prone northeast corridor,” which they said affects delays.

A flight status board at Orlando International Airport shows a few of the hundreds of flights cancelled

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

“We know that delays are never ideal, but with the majority of our customers traveling for leisure or visiting family and friends, we do everything we can to avoid canceling flights and getting customers to where they need to go, which speaks to our stronger completion factor,” Derek Dombrowski, the general manager for corporate communications at JetBlue, T+L.

On the other end of the spectrum was Hawaiian Airlines, which had the highest on-time percentage of the major U.S. airlines at 85.43%. Only 0.83% of Hawaiian’s flights were canceled or diverted. That was followed by Delta Air Lines, which had an on-time percentage of 83.32%.

While the summer saw mass cancellations and airlines trimming schedules to minimize disruptions, things have since gotten better. But the winter holiday season could still bring more headaches, Alice Mariscotti-Wyatt, the head of content at AirHelp, told T+L.

“It's quite likely as we get a higher volume of flights again that we may see the cancellations and delays [rise],” Mariscotti-Wyatt said. “What we can see in data is there is usually a trend in any case when you have a higher volume in flights that you usually see a rise in disruptions, and that's true pre-pandemic as well.”

Mariscotti-Wyatt said there are a few things travelers can do to ensure fewer issues like booking their flight before noon and flying on a Tuesday or a Wednesday when there are fewer flights in the air. In fact, according to data from AirHelp, Tuesdays were the second slowest day of the week with an average of just over 849,000 flights per day from January to October. At the same time, Tuesdays saw the lowest number of canceled flights at only 1.54%. 

But disruptions do inevitably happen and Mariscotti-Wyatt said the most important thing is to know your options when they do. In September, the Department of Transportation launched a new website detailing airline compensation policies and the agency has proposed a rule change that would require airlines to issue a refund for a delayed domestic flight.

“We know for most passengers the biggest thing is trying to know what's going to happen with their ongoing travel,” Mariscotti-Wyatt said. “Know your rights.”

These are the on-time percentages for all 10 major airlines from July 2021 through July 2022, according to the Bureau of Transportation.

  1. Alaska Airlines: 78.1%
  2. Allegiant Air: 61.96%
  3. American Airlines: 76.39%
  4. Delta Air Lines: 83.32%
  5. Frontier Airlines: 69.27%
  6. Hawaiian Airlines: 85.43%
  7. JetBlue: 65.57%
  8. Southwest Airlines: 72.68%
  9. Spirit Airlines: 71.83%
  10. United Airlines: 78.04%
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