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Which airline was most on time in September?

It must be said, overall, the flight statistics for major U.S. carriers from September makes for very pleasant reading. Especially when viewed in light of the disastrous summer carriers were just coming off the back of.

The percentage of flights on time sunk to the low sixties in the case of low-cost airline Spirit, while Southwest Airlines cancelled over 11% of their flights in the month of July. Mind you, it remains to be seen what their October figures look like following a tricky Halloween weekend, so that may not be the nadir of their year.

Returning to September, however, each of the five major airlines in the country credibly managed to get over 80% of their flights on time for the month.

Southwest and Spirit were still lagging behind the leading pack, with 80.19% and 81.31% respectively, but by much more respectable margins.

United offered the median with 84.64, narrowly edged out by American Airlines with an impressive 85.08.

However, as the chart above illustrates, Delta managed to put daylight between themselves and their competitors in this category, ensuring that an emphatic 89.59% of their flights landed on schedule in September. Not bad.

The statistics for flights delayed as a consequence of the air carrier are similarly close. Unfortunately for Southwest however they were the tardiest on this front too, with nearly 7% of their flights delayed.

American comes next with 5.26, but there’s hardly anything to separate the top three, Spirit, Delta and United. In the end it was United who experienced the fewest flight delays through their own fault though, beating Delta by less than 0.3%.

Finally, Southwest cancelled 2.39% of their flights in September – by no means ideal but again, a huge improvement on a tricky few months. Spirit weren’t all that much better, cancelling 1.87%, whilst United Airlines managed to just keep those numbers below 1.5% of their total flights.

American was second is this category as well, with a handy 1.12. However, Delta were able to deliver a near faultless performance on this front, with 0.44% of flights cancelled in September. This represents just 265 of over 60,000 flights.

All the data is very encouraging to read as the airline industry continues to get back on its feet out of the pandemic, and corroborate reports of a successful Thanksgiving weekend some two months after these stats were taken.

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