During the recently concluded holiday season, Southwest  (LUV) – Get Free Report got the sort of headlines no airline wants, as the carrier had to delay or cancel nearly half of its flights.

Flight status website FlightAware showed Southwest at the top of the list for both canceled and delayed flights, at one point canceling 940 of its flights and delaying 900, leaving hundreds of thousands of people temporarily stranded during the holiday season and messing up the plans of untold numbers of people.

The reasons for the delays were myriad, but many employees are blaming the new management for not spending enough to update the flight scheduling software or to hire enough employees to make things run smoothly.

But while the traveling public has placed its collective coal in Southwest’s stocking, it’s not been all bad news for the industry, as it turns out that there are a number of airlines that still know how to get people to their destinations on time. For the most part, anyway.

Which Airline Had The Fewest Delays Last Year?

Cirium, one of the aviation industry’s leading data and analytics firms, has released its rankings for the most on-time large airlines in North America last year, which the company has been compiling for the past 14 years.

Cirium defines on-time as arriving at a destination’s gate “under 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time.”

Coming in at the number one position is Delta Airlines  (DAL) – Get Free Report, which arrived on time 84.1% of the time.

This is a turnaround for the airline, as it had a rocky start to 2022. According to the Department of Transportation, Delta flights were on time 80.7% for the first six months of last year. Delta’s CEO president Glen Hauenstein apologized for the delay and then made steps to correct performance, including shelving expansion plans, allowing more time for the boarding process, and making adjustments to pilots’ schedules, as noted by Travel Weekly. 

As a result of the changes, Delta rebounded to an 88.5% on-time performance last September.

What Other Airlines Kept Delays To A Minimum?

Take note Southwest  (LUV) – Get Free Report: Delta was not the only airline that was able to keep delays and cancellations to a minimum. 

Alaska Airlines was ranked second, arriving on time 81.4% of the time. Up next was United Airlines at 81.26%.

American Airlines was at 78.77%, while Southwest stood at 74.68%. After that was Frontier at 68.99% and JetBlue at 67.13%, Allegiant at 66.49%, WestJet at 60.66%, and Air Canada at 55.56%.

The statistics used for the rankings cut off after December 15th, so it is possible that Southwest could have been even lower on the list if the entire calendar year was taken into consideration.

Cirium notes that 71.91% of North American flights arrived on time in 2022. 


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