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American, Lufthansa and Air India Lead “Most Unreliable Airlines”

All major U.S. carriers and three international airlines were named “Most Unreliable,” according to a list tracking the number of flight problems and total complaints sent to regulators.
If there truly is a “Most Unreliable Airline,” Airways Magazine says American Airlines may top the list.


The publication released their list of the most unreliable carriers for 2022, ranking both American and United Airlines at the top.


American and United Outrank Low-Cost and International Airlines

To determine the most unreliable airlines around the world, the magazine tracked both total flight problems across the carrier’s network, as well as the total number of complaints filed in 2022. Possibly because of their size, American Airlines was at the top of the list, with over 2,000 flight problems and nearly 6,500 complaints.


United Airlines came in second, with just over 1,500 flight problems and more than 5,100 complaints. The two legacy carriers outranked three low-cost carriers: Spirit Airlines was named third “most unreliable” with 3,200 complaints, with JetBlue in fourth with nearly 3,000 complaints. Frontier Airlines rounded out the top five with 2,871 complaints filed.


“Overall, the American flight companies fared the worst, with seven of the most unreliable airlines based on travelers’ complaints being all US-owned,” the magazine’s editors write. “As the largest airline in the world, it is perhaps no surprise that AA collected the most complaints over the last 12-month period. In fact, the airline ranked worst across all the factors aside from lost and delayed baggage, with 2,183 reported flight problems and 1,476 refund issues.”


Delta Air Lines was ranked sixth on the list, despite recently being announced as the carrier with the highest on-time rate in North America. Southwest Airlines came in seventh, but could see its position on next year’s list rise after their winter storm meltdown.


Three international carriers were also listed on the top 10 list. Lufthansa was the highest international carrier in eighth with 1,796 complaints, followed by Air India with 1,661 complaints. Air Canada came in tenth with 1,292 complaints.


Which carrier is the most unreliable in your eyes? Share your thoughts on the FlyerTalk Forums.

kai.lileboo February 17, 2024

I am sure Ryanair, Wizz, Vueling and Easyjet score even above all those.
However it is important to have in mind that 1500 claims out of 10,000 flights it is not the same as our of 5,000

AC SD YVR November 7, 2023

If you rank the number of complaints versus the total number of passengers flown, you'll quickly see that smaller ULCCs like Spirit have a much higher percentage of dissatisfied passengers overall. Statistics!!

cffjohnsmith March 6, 2023

Air India- the brand owned by India's most reliable company TATA, is one of the most unreliable. Hope to see things turning around sooner than later!!

st8dm February 22, 2023

I'm not defending the above, they have their faults. But if you bother to look around, you'll find much, much, much worse companies than these. This article is like saying "Microsoft and Google are bad".

wlau February 13, 2023

What's the common thread here?  Star Alliance.  Star Alliance has the WORST airlines.  Had China being more opened, Air China would also rank high on this list.  ANA, EVA Air and Singapore need to leave the Star Alliance or their reputation will be dragged through the mud.