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These Are The Top 5 U.S. Airlines If You Want To Avoid Delays In 2024 


Air travel is stressful and time-consuming as is, and having to deal with hours-long delays on top of all that can be a big hit to the quality of the overall experience.

That’s why airlines always strive to perfect their on-time performance score, a statistic that measures – you guessed it – how many of a carrier’s scheduled flights have departed on time.

southwest and united planessouthwest and united planes

Unfortunately, January has been a pretty unsuccessful month across the board for U.S. airlines, with the frigid winter conditions causing thousands of flights to be canceled or delayed – more specifically, there was an astounding 400% increase in canceled flights compared to December of 2023.

That’s why it has become more important than ever to choose a reliable airline that you can still trust to stay on schedule even when conditions are tough, but which carriers are operating most efficiently right now?

According to Cirium’s latest on-time report, these are the top 5 U.S. airlines you can choose to avoid unforeseen delays:

5. American Airlines

The fifth spot on today’s list is occupied by American, the country’s biggest and most influential airline, which, albeit a bit controversial at times, remains a traveler favorite.

american airlines plane flying, clear skyamerican airlines plane flying, clear sky

The carrier scored a 73.86% on-time performance rate this January, which was almost an 11-point decrease from the previous month.

Still, considering the fact that American Airlines consistently operates more than 150,000 flights a month, that’s nothing short of impressive, so those looking to travel somewhere warm and exciting this year without having to deal with endless delays have their choice already made for them.

american airlines planes in montego bay, jamaicaamerican airlines planes in montego bay, jamaica

4. Southwest Airlines

North America’s biggest budget carrier has had its fair share of issues and negative press, but thanks to its reasonable prices, ever-expanding destination network, and, as it turns out, pretty good on-time performance score, it remains a favorite among U.S. travelers.

74.31% of the airline’s 120,000+ flights departed on time this January – again, the number is quite a bit lower than the previous month, but impressive nonetheless considering the difficult conditions carriers were expected to operate in during this time.

southwest planes in a snowstorm during wintersouthwest planes in a snowstorm during winter

What’s more, the fact that a budget airline consistently goes hand in hand with major high-end competitors in terms of punctuality is always a major win.

3. Alaska Airlines

Though Alaska started the year off on the wrong foot (the midair door incident that caused the global grounding of the Boeing 737-9Max), the airline has since recovered some of its goodwill by placing third on the North American list of the most punctual carriers.

Alaska Airlines AirplaneAlaska Airlines Airplane

The airline just barely made the podium, though – its on-time performance rate was 74.53%, a mere 0.22 points above Southwest.

Still, managing so many newly-launched flights while also dealing with extreme winter weather can’t be easy, so we can give Alaska a pass this time.

2. United Airlines

Having held onto the title of the second most punctual airline in North America for a couple of months now, United has once again claimed the runner-up spot with an on-time performance score of 78.61.

united airlines aircraft take offunited airlines aircraft take off

While that’s still a downgrade from last month, it seems like United handled the extreme winter conditions better than any of its competitors since its 7-point difference was the lowest of the bunch.

This goes to show that, once again, United puts passenger experience first, something that we also saw last year when the airline introduced a new seat map feature that made it easier for families to sit together for free.

1. Delta Air Lines

The country’s most punctual airline remains undefeated.

Even though Delta was just as affected as the rest of the competition by the weather, it still managed to have almost 80% of its hundreds of thousands of flights depart on time.

The underbelly of a plane with the Delta logo.The underbelly of a plane with the Delta logo.

And considering the many exciting new routes announced just these past few months, it’s safe to say that the carrier is staying on top of the game despite any scheduling conflicts or difficulties.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.



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