Delta leads major carriers in on-time performance over the holiday season.
If you plan on going home for the holidays and want to arrive on schedule, Delta Air Lines may offer your best odds of a smooth flight. Forbes reports that for the second year running, the Atlanta-based carrier had the best on-time performance during the holiday months among legacy carriers.
Analyzing data from the U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics from 2015 and 2016, Delta had the most on-time arrivals during the closing months of the year, with 91.4 percent of flights in November and 81.4 percent of December operations arriving to the gate within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival.
Across the two holiday months, the data differs for best arrival performance. Alaska Airlines was the second best among major carriers for on time performance in November 2016, arriving on schedule 88 percent of the time. Low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, each reporting over 72 percent of flights arriving on time.
In December 2016, American Airlines had the second-best performance, despite a dismal showing in the previous month. The carrier jumped five spots to rank behind Delta, with 79.1 percent of all flights arriving to the gate on schedule. Alaska ranked in fourth, followed by United Airlines in fifth, with both reporting a 76 percent of flights operating on time.
Overall, Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time performance of any reporting carrier, due to their schedule flying between fair-weather destinations. During all of 2016, Hawaiian was on time 91 percent of the time – beating Delta by nearly six percentage points.