The worst airlines in the United States

By Stuart_R_Crawford
In MSP Coaching
December 3, 2012

Stuart R. Crawford / Stuart Crawford

Normally, I don’t just copy and paste someone’s press release right into my blog.  However, this information that landed in my email struck a cord with me.  I fly weekly around the United States and Canada and recently switched from the Star Alliance carriers of United and US Airways to JetBlue (99% of the time) and Delta (when I need to go to Atlanta).

However, I wanted to figure out how we can take this information and apply it to our MSP businesses.  Being “On Time” is crucial for airlines.  Last week we were in Calgary and we were late and it totally screwed our meetings up for the two days we were there, having to cancel one with a prospect to keep our clients happy.  Do I fault WestJet for that, of course not.  We needed to De-ice at Hamilton and the weather in Calgary was horrible, causing delays.  But we needed to be on time for our jammed packed schedule.

Are you on time with your clients?  Or are you late in delivering your own services?

How do you feel when you are late or someone who is meeting you is late?  Are you forgiving or do you get upset?  Now, imagine how your clients feel.

Fremont, CA – November 24, 2012 – 2012 proved to be a challenging year for many of the United States major airlines in regards to their on time performance in addition to cancellations. With the growing feud among the American Airlines pilot union and the AMR management and a large number of maintenance delays and cancellations, American took one of the top spots among cancellations while United Airlines had the worst record for delayed flights. United’s regional
partner, Express Jet Airlines came in second place for delays and had the most cancellations of all the airlines polled. Hawaiian Airlines had the best on time record with the least cancellations.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2011, United Airlines ranked 7th for having the worst on time record. 2012 is the first year the airline is reporting the data under the United and Continental merger. Online business class travel site Lets Fly Cheaper released their picks for the airlines with the worst on time performance and cancellations based on data for the 2nd quarter of 2012 from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

“Weather is always a big delay factor, especially in places like Chicago, Denver and the New York City area. United is faced with a lot of weather challenges in their Newark, Denver and Chicago hubs. The recent super storm Sandy also caused many cancellations but the BTS data doesnt have those percentages yet so they aren’t a factor in this study” says Lets Fly Cheaper CEO, Ramon vanMeer.

Aside from weather being a factor, the air traffic control system used today in the U.S is antiquated. The technology is from a post-World War II era and in much need of improvement. “The FAA is currently working on a next generation of radar to help alleviate a lot of congestion. Mainly in places like the New York are where you have three major airports within a few miles of each other” says vanMeer.

The airlines themselves can also harness some of the blame when it comes to cancellations and delays. Crew shortages are a big issue with some of the carriers. For safety issues, airline crew members are restricted by the FAA to how many hours they can work in one day. “If one crew member reaches their maximum duty time, it’s a ripple effect on the entire flight while the airline frantically attempts to replace that crew member. This causes a delay and in some cases a cancellation if a replacement can’t be found. That’s entirely the airlines fault for not efficiently managing their crew member schedules or properly staffing their airline” says Lets Fly Cheaper Marketing Director, Sean Delanty.

The data was taken from January of 2012 to September of 2012

  1. United Airlines – 76.49% on time: 4,594 flights cancelled
  2. Express Jet Airlines – 76.72% on time: 10,046 flights cancelled
  3. Frontier Airlines – 79.12% on time: 119 flights cancelled
  4. American Airlines – 77.86% on time: 7,152 flights cancelled
  5. JetBlue Airways – 80.41% on time: 680 flights cancelled
  6. Virgin America – 83.73% on time: 108 flights cancelled
  7. American Eagle – 81.92% on time: 7,781 flights cancelled
  8. SkyWest Airlines – 82.55% on time: 7,662 flights cancelled
  9. Southwest Airlines – 83.89% on time: 6,159 flights cancelled
  10. Mesa Airlines – 85.05% on time: 1,253 flights cancelled
  11. Delta Airlines – 86.34% on time: 2,002 flights cancelled
  12. US Airways – 86.27% on time: 1,945 flights cancelled
  13. Air Tran – 87.36% on time: 723 flights cancelled
  14. Alaska Airlines – 88.07% on time: 891 flights cancelled
  15. Hawaiian Airlines – 93.15% on time: 48 flights cancelled

About Lets Fly Cheaper
Lets Fly is a low fare specialist, focused on supplying cheap business class flights to international destinations worldwide. To book the lowest fare contact one of their travel agents at 1-800-240-0461 or go to and

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