A delayed or canceled flight can derail your dream vacation before it really begins, especially if it’s going to make you late for a connecting flight or maybe even to catch a cruise!
But the good news is that the U.S. Department of Transportation says airlines are doing a better job.
Worst airlines for late and canceled flights
According to the Air Travel Consumer Report, the 12 reporting U.S. carriers canceled 0.29% of their scheduled domestic flights in November 2016, an all-time low. For some perspective, those carriers canceled 1.0% of flights in both November 2015 and October 2016.
Here are the airlines with the highest and lowest cancellation rates:
Highest rates of canceled flights
ExpressJet Airlines – 0.9 percent
SkyWest Airlines – 0.7 percent
Spirit Airlines – 0.3 percent
Lowest rates of canceled flights
Delta Air Lines – 0.0 percent
Alaska Airlines – 0.1 percent
Frontier Airlines – 0.1 percent
There was also improvement as far as the overall on-time arrival rate, which climbed to 86.5% in November 2016, up from 83.7% a year before. It was 85.5% in October 2016.
Here are the airlines with the best and worst on-time arrival rates:
Highest on-time arrival rates
Hawaiian Airlines – 91.5 percent
Delta Air Lines – 91.4 percent
Alaska Airlines – 88.0 percent
Lowest on-time arrival rates
Virgin America – 81.4 percent
ExpressJet Airlines – 82.8 percent
JetBlue Airways – 84.3 percent
The Transportation Department numbers we shared are only for November 2016, but the Wall Street Journal‘s year-long review of U.S. airlines also concluded that service is improving.
The WSJ’s annual scorecard gave overall high marks to Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines. American Airlines ranked last.
Budget carrier Spirit Airlines, which is known for its various add-on fees, also ranked near the bottom of the list due to late arrivals, cancellations and lots of customer complaints.
In the meantime, a recent Expedia study found that 2017 will be a great year for budget travel! Expect lower ticket prices and more flight options.
The best day of the week to book is Sunday, at least 21 days before your trip.