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The Most Punctual Airlines in the US

World’s Biggest Airlines Ranked by On-Time Performance in the US

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
3 minutes read
Last Updated:

Recently the OAG (Official Airline Guide) published their 2023 on-time performance (OTP) rankings for the world’s 20 biggest airlines. Their data ranks the largest global airlines based on their on-time arrivals, and US airports based on on-time departure. In the rankings, “on-time’ means within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival or departure time.

It’s also important to point out that the number of flights analysed in the study vary considerably with American Airlines having almost 2 million flights in 2023 compared to Aeromexico with only 201,627. 

Some Interesting Findings

  • 7 out of the 20 airlines were US carriers.
  • 3 were Latin American
  • 4 Asia-Pacific
  • 6 Europe

The Overall Top 5 Most Punctual Airlines

Airline

Number of Flights

Percentage on-time arrivals

Delta

1,635,526

83.21%

LATAM

513,172

82.74%

Azul Airlines

306,922

82.39%

IndiGo

661,818

82.17%

All Nippon Airways

374,321 

81.63%

The Top 5 Most Punctual US airlines by On Time Percentage

As you can see, Delta is by far the most on-time airline, both in the US and globally. 

Airline

Number of Flights

Percentage on-time

Delta

1,635,526

83.21%

Alaska

405,377

81.04%

American

1,998,376

79.11%

United

1,503,635

78.67%

Southwest

1,461,535

75.51%

The Top 5 Most Punctual US Airlines by Number of Flights

Airline

Number of Flights

Percentage on-time

American

1,998,376

79.11%

Delta

1,635,526

83.21%

United

1,503,635

78.67%

Southwest

1,461,535

75.51%

Alaska

405,377

81.04%

The Top 4 Most Punctual European Airlines

Airline

Number of Flights

Percentage on-time

KLM- Royal Dutch Airlines

240,330

74.64%

SAS Scandinavian Airlines

209,017

68.95%

Air France

286,586

68.33%

Deutsche Lufthansa

363,719

67.58%

The Most On-Time US Airports

  1. Minneapolis/St Paul International Apt
  2. Seattle-Tacoma International Apt
  3. Atlanta Hartsfield-jackson Intl Apt
  4. Charlotte
  5. Washington Ronald Reagan National Apt

Also interesting: Worst Airports in the US for Delays - AirAdvisor Study 2023.

AirAdvisor Airline Rankings

Because we focus on passengers rights, we’ve written our own data analysis of airline performance in different regions and have ranked the top on-time airlines for the EU, UK, and the US. The biggest difference in AirAdvisor’s data analysis and the one recently published by OAG is that we analysed all the carriers in each region based on reliability, customer service, reviews, and airline policies. OAG, on the other hand, focused on the data from the world’s 20 largest airlines

Here’s how AirAdvisor’s ratings compared to OAG’s reliability ratings:

TOP 3 UK AIRLINES COMPARED

OAG

AirAdvisor

easyJet (ranked #19 globally)

Jet2

British Airways (#20 globally)

EasyJet

none

Virgin Atlantic

TOP 3 EU AIRLINES COMPARED

OAG

AirAdvisor

KLM (#12 globally)

Iberia

SAS (#15 globally)

Aegean

Air France (#16 globally)

Finn Air

TOP 3 US AIRLINES COMPARED

OAG

AirAdvisor

Delta (#1 globally)

Delta

Alaska (#7 globally)

Hawaiian

American (#8 globally)

American

What is Considered Good On-Time Performance

Within the airline industry, an on-time performance of 80% or better is usually considered good. This translates to, “. . . 4 in 5 flights arriving within 15 minutes of their scheduled time.” 

Of course there are many factors that contribute to achieving a high on-time performance rating including the performance of airports, weather trends, world events, and how efficiently an airline operates. 

Airline Reliability and Its Effect on Passengers

Cancelled and delayed flights have an enormous effect on air passengers resulting in extra costs incurred from hotel stays, food, transportation, and rebooking. Not only that, but a delayed or cancelled flight can derail a vacation like a cruise and can cause passengers to miss important events like weddings or important business meetings.

Travellers in the UK, EU, and Canada have some recourse when it comes to flight disruption as these regions have regulations in place that require airlines to compensate passengers for cancellations and delays, but in the US, passengers pretty much have to fend for themselves.  

Air passenger rights in the US are governed by the US Department of Transportation, and while the Passengers Bill of Rights offers protections similar to what is enjoyed in the EU and UK, it’s uncertain whether it will ever become federal law. Since the US has no federal laws requiring airlines to compensate passengers, it might come as some relief that the largest airlines in the US were also found to be the ones with the best on time performance. 

If your flight was delayed, canceled or overbooked within the last 3 years, you could be eligible for up to $650 in compensation.Check Your Flight

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