Delta Ranks Number One for Most Passengers. Or Does It?

You had to figure one of the legacy carriers would win 2013’s Most Passengers designation and according to Department of Transportation, the airline with the biggest numbers was Delta. If you expected to see American or United or US Airways in second place, think again. The honor went to Southwest. But that may be a technicality.

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Is Southwest Really Number One?

Southwest has completed its merger with AirTran but the two carriers reported their numbers separately last year. Take a look at the passenger statistics for the top five – along with AirTran’s in the number 10 spot.

Note: Passenger numbers in millions.

2013 Rank Airline 2013 Enplaned Passengers


Delta 120.389


Southwest 115.323


United 90.113


American 86.823


US Airways 57.007


AirTran 17.817


Now add  together Southwest’s and AirTran’s numbers. The total easily beats Delta.

The Next Big Winner – American

But watch out, Delta and Southwest – and all the others. American’s merger with US Airways was only just officially completed last year; add those two carriers’ passenger figures together and the new American dwarfs Delta and Southwest.


Published: March 19, 2014