The Most Delayed Flights in the U.S.

Do you fly the most delayed flight in the U.S.?

You may if you travel in California and Nevada. The following figures are courtesy of the Department of Transportation – these newly released statistics cover the months of August through October of this year.

What to Do When Your Flight is Delayed

SkyWest, Southwest: Most Delayed Flights

  • August: Southwest flight 642 (Las Vegas – San Francisco); delayed 71.4% of the time
  • September: SkyWest flight 5470 (San Francisco – Sacramento); delayed 66.7% of the time
  • October: SkyWest, same flight as above; delayed 61.3% of the time

Note: Southwest also racked up several lengthy flight delays out of San Francisco to Los Angeles and San Diego, which may help explain why San Francisco International had the lowest on-time arrival performance of the nation’s 29 busiest airports in October (and one cannot discount the damage done by all the fog in the Bay area).

Top ‘Healthiest’ Airports in the U.S.

Hurricane Sandy Not Much of a Factor

To judge by the airline’s own data – which they’ve been required to report to the DOT since 2003 – Hurricane Sandy wasn’t much of a factor in the latest delays (though since it hit in late October, a ripple-effect may be seen when the statistics for November are released), and weather overall affected less than 3% of these flights. The biggest problems involved other late-arriving flights and everyday airline snarls that were within the carrier’s control.

Some Good Airline Statistics (and more bad ones, too)

Reasons for Delays, August-October

  • Aircraft arriving late (the previous flight landed late, creating a domino effect) 41.55%
  • Air carrier delay (problems within an airline’s control such as baggage loading delays) 32.18%
  • National Aviation System delay (includes problems with air traffic control) 23.30%
  • Extreme weather (including tornados, hurricanes and more) 2.83%
  • Security delays (equipment problems, extra-long lines and more) 0.14%

See More Airline Data Online

If you’re curious about other airline facts and figures, check out the monthly reports from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics or look for them here on FareCompare – they can be a real eye-opener.


Published: December 12, 2012