Delta most on-time US airline during February

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines grabbed the top spot for the highest percentage of on-time arrivals in February according to a report released April 18 by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The Air Travel Consumer Report, issued monthly by the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, showed that Delta’s planes arrived at all of the U.S. airports the airline serves 89.5 percent of the time during the second month of the year. At 30 so-called reportable airports, the carrier’s performance was slightly lower but, at 88.8 percent, still led the pack of 12 U.S. airlines covered by the report.

Delta Air Lines jet departs Seattle-Tacoma International Airport SEA-TAC
Delta jet departs SEA
An “on-time” arrival is defined as an arrival less than 15 minutes after scheduled arrival time. The 30 “reportable” airports are airports that account for at least one percent of the nation's total domestic scheduled-service passenger enplanements.

American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) ranked No. 2 during February with 85.2 percent on-time arrivals overall. ExpressJet was No. 3 at 82.4 percent followed by Southwest (NYSE:LUV) at No. 4 with 82.4 percent and Frontier (NASDAQ:FRNT) in the No. 5 slot with 82.3 percent. For simplicity, statistics are displayed to one decimal place though ranking order is based on the DOT carrying out the number of decimal places to nine.

Delta’s February performance marks an improvement from its numbers the month prior. During January, the carrier’s flights were on time 80.7 percent of the time at all airports and 80.6 percent of the time at the 30 reportable airports. Still, the carrier’s overall performance ranked second in January only to Hawaiian Airlines (NYSE:HA). That carrier’s flights arrived on-time 85.7 percent of the time at all the airports it serves.

For the 12 months ending in February, Hawaiian continued to occupy the top spot, with a 12-month average of 89.6 percent. Delta was second for the year-long period at 86.4 percent. Seattle-headquartered Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) was third for the 12-month period at 85.7 percent followed by Skywest at No. 4 with 81.6 percent and United (NYSE:UAL) No. 5 at 81.1 percent.

Virgin America, which is now owned by Alaska Air Group but tracked separately from Alaska Airlines, had the worst on-time arrivals record in February and January, as well as for the 12 months ending in February. During February, 64.6 percent of the carrier’s flights arrived on time, which marked a slight improvement from its January figure of 63.9 percent. For the 12 months just ended, the carrier posed a 73.9 percent on-time arrival figure.

During February, four carriers cancelled less than one percent of their flights. Hawaiian, Delta, Frontier and United cancelled 0.2 percent, 0.5 percent, 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent of their flights, respectively. JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) had the highest percentage of cancelled flights, at 4.4 percent.

Five airlines had fewer than two complaints per 1,000 passengers about mishandled baggage in February. Virgin America led that group with 1.24 complaints per 1,000 passengers, followed by jetBlue at 1.37; Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ:SAVE) at 1.48; Delta at 1.55 and Alaska at 1.73. Three carriers had more than three complaints per 1,000: ExpressJet at 3.1, Frontier at 3.15 and SkyWest at 3.56 complaints per 1,000 passengers.

ExpressJet Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc., partners with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. SkyWest Airlines operates flights for American, Delta, United and Alaska Airlines.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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