Best and Worst Airlines – Latest Statistics

Once again, it’s time for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report which fills us in on all the latest performance statistics. Here are the highlights for February 2013:

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Best On-Time Airlines

These airlines were best at getting you to your destination on time; the carrier’s name is followed by its percentage of on-time arriving flights:

  1. Hawaiian – 91.8%
  2. Alaska – 90.6%
  3. Virgin America – 88.5%
  4. Delta – 86.2%
  5. Southwest – 84.5%

And the worst performances were turned in by:

  1. Frontier – 68.4%
  2. JetBlue – 68.8%
  3. ExpressJet – 69.2%

In fairness to these carriers, it should be pointed out that these are depth-of-winter statistics, so Denver-based Frontier and New York’s JetBlue were hit especially hard.

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Most Chronically Delayed Flights

ExpressJet won this category hands down.

Airlines that Lost Few Bags

These airlines did best in the mishandled baggage category. The statistics following the carrier name represent the number of problems-with-bags reports per 1,000 passengers.

  1. Virgin America – 0.76
  2. JetBlue – 1.77
  3. AirTran – 1.89
  4. Delta – 2.05
  5. Hawaiian – 2.13

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Airlines that Lost Lots of Bags

These are the airlines that ranked at the bottom of the baggage carousel:

  1. American Eagle – 6.08
  2. SkyWest – 5.64
  3. ExpressJet – 5.04

Best and Worst for Bumping

These airlines were least likely to give away seats, an annoying situation usually due to overbooking that the airlines call ‘involuntary denied boarding’ and the rest of us refer to as bumping: JetBlue, Virgin America and Hawaiian.

The worst airlines for bumping: Mesa, SkyWest and ExpressJet.

Complaints – Best and Worst Airlines

The top three airlines with the fewest complaints were Southwest, AirTran and Alaska. The worst was Frontier – but again, this may have had something to do with weather delays.

Pet Problems

Two pets died in February, with one report coming from Alaska and another from United. There were also two reports of injuries (from Delta and Horizon). Very sad, but perhaps not so horrendous considering the hundreds or maybe thousands of animals that fly safely each month. Unless of course it’s your pet that died.


Published: April 12, 2013