In my opinion, any flight I am on is the WORST if it is delayed. But yes, certain airlines seem to have more problems. Much of it depends on where they start. In ad weather, certainly avoid any flight that originates or goes through Chicago or Denver. I tend to favor the “first flight out”, meaning the plane and the crew arrived the night before, and are sitting at the gate when I arrive. However, that is always not possible.
Having been to many airports around the world, the biggest culprit is not rain or snow, but rather FOG!!!! I always thought a pilot could land or take off in the fog. But I guess it is not true for commercial flights. The worst delay I have ever experienced was fog in Taipei, Taiwan. We sat on the tarmac in Hong Kong for 3 hours before they decided to postpone the flight and put us up in a cheap hotel. But the silver lining was that I was able to parlay my ticket into a Singapore Airlines business class ticket, and spent the day in their ultra fabulous first class lounge!!!!
To no one’s surprise, Hawaiian Airlines has the best on time performance at 93%. Of course, most of their flights are form the west coast to Hawaii, or the little puddle jumpers between islands. Nevertheless, they still serve a full meal on their mainland flights, which is a big plus. And their flight crews seem just a little more friendly than their mainland counterparts.
Next best is Alaska at 87%. I always fly Alaska to Seattle, always three times a year, and generally always on time or early. I was on an Alaska flight in 1989 when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit Northern California. We were the last plane to land at SFO. It was quite an experience to land at a darkened airport, using a stairway to deplane, and walking away from total chaos.
In third place is Delta, which I hardly ever fly. Fourth place is held by Virgin America, which seems to be the popular choice of people looking to switch from one of the legacy carriers. Count me as one of those!!! United, my airline of choice for the past couple decades, comes in at a paltry 78%. Now, I do realize they have more flights, particularly from some bad weather places in the hinterlands of our country.
Well, moving on to the worst, we have one of the airlines that I actually like, Jet Blue. I often fly them from Oakland to Long Beach, when I visit my Aunt and Uncle in Long Beach. Second worst is ExpressJet, which I have not flown, to my recollection. Next is US Scare, now part of American or is it Delta? I only flu US Air to Vegas or Phoenix, usually just once a year.
But do not fear, Southworst Airline, or SWA, has recently take over the dreaded last spot of on time departures and arrivals. Plus, they actually have landed at the wrong airport!!! They typically sit at the top of airline satisfaction surveys. But can they over come the late flights?
So, what can we, as fliers, do about this? Nothing! Or try to fly only those airlines that fly closer to on time, or those that originate at your home airport. Alternatives are rental cars, or Amtrak. If you have time, I really recommend seeing our great country. But if you are crossing an ocean? Good luck!