2022 was a mixed bag for airlines, with record numbers of travelers returning to the skies hampered by severe bouts of weather and the occasional technical glitch. Nevertheless some airlines performed much better than others - particularly when it came to the all-important metric of getting their passengers to the gate on time.
Top of the podium for 2022 was Delta Air Lines, who had the most on-time arrivals of any major airline. From January to October 2022, Delta had 84% of its flights on time, with only 2% cancelled. This is according to data from the U.S Department of Transportation and the FAA.
In second place was United Airlines which managed to get 80% of its flights at the gate when they were due to arrive. Languishing behind was American Airlines, whose on-time record was almost 5% lower than its nearest competitor. Both carriers suffered a near 4% drop in the amount of planes arriving on-time compared to 2021.
Rounding out the list, Spirit came second from the bottom, managing a 74.74% on-time record, while Southwest struggled the most with only 74.53% of flights arriving as scheduled.
The most common reason for delay was carriers forcing planes to push back late. This was most problematic for Southwest which saw almost 10% of its flights delayed due to circumstances within the airline’s control, such as crew shortages, baggage problems or issues with the plane itself.
Delays and cancellations told a similar story to the previous year, with American Airlines cancelling the largest percentage of flights – as it had done in 2021. On average American cancelled 3.1% of flights, which is even higher than the previous year’s record. Delta, meanwhile, had the fewest cancellations at 1.4%.
With airlines expecting strong travel demand to continue, it is clear that some airlines are in a better position than others to deliver customer satisfaction. In 2022 Delta proved that it is possible to maintain a good service despite turbulent conditions. On top of delivering an industry-leading pay offer to their pilots, Delta has continued to top the charts in best airline lists including WalletHub and WSJ.