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Report: These are the best (and worst) airlines to fly on Memorial Day weekend

The airlines you should fly Memorial Day Weekend

Hawaiian Airlines airplane over the ocean
Hawaiian Airlines

Memorial Day is a time to honor our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Though it’s easy to get caught up in the long weekend and associated festivities, it’s also good to reflect on the life we enjoy in the USA. 

Memorial Day also gives us an additional day to get out and explore without using vacation time or missing work. While one day might not seem like a lot, three days in a row are a nice chunk for a semi-extended trip. For some, that means hopping on a plane and flying hundreds (or thousands) of miles to relax and recharge.

But to make the most of your days off, you want an airline that’s reliable and punctual, and doesn’t leave you waiting at the gate. That’s especially true on Memorial Day weekend, one of the year’s busiest travel periods. A recent study looked at the best airlines to fly during this popular travel period. Here are the results. 

Who you should fly with on Memorial Day weekend

Delta Airline airplane flying
Delta Airlines

It’s the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Your bags are packed, accommodations reserved, and you can’t wait to head out. But at the airport, your flight’s delayed. With only three days to play, every moment counts. To help you avoid a similar scenario, JW Surety Bonds conducted a study on the most reliable airlines and the best times to fly.

The study considered data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Air Travel Consumer Report. Produced by the DOT’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection, the report seeks to “assist consumers with information on the quality of services provided by the airlines.”

After perusing the statistics, JW Surety Bonds discovered the most on-time carriers during Memorial Day weekend are Hawaiian Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. That’s nice to know for those headed to Kauai’s forests and beaches or Ketchikan’s salmon-filled waters.

On the other hand, the most-delayed airlines during this time are Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. So while you might score a low ticket price, you could be stuck at the gate, waiting to begin your trip. 

When to fly during Memorial Day weekend

Alaska Airlines airplane in the sky
Alaska Airlines

On-time departures aren’t just a matter of airlines. You can also minimize delays by flying at specific times. As Richard Whately once said, “Lose an hour in the morning, and you’ll be all day hunting for it.” 

Flights between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. have the highest rate of on-time departures. At most airports, that can be as high as 96.4%.

But flying in the afternoon and evening raises the risk of a delayed flight. Flights scheduled between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. are on time only 64.8% of the time. 

Now you can make the most of your Memorial Day weekend

Mountains and coastline of Kauai, Hawaii
Kauai, Hawaii Karsten Winegeart via Unsplash

You like to work hard and play hard. But there’s not always time for an extended getaway, and where there is, you want to make the most of it. Facing airport delays throws a wrench in your plans and makes for a disappointing start to your trip. This study gives you the info you need to pick the right airline and schedule your flight at the best time. 

This Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to reflect on the fallen members of the U.S. Armed Forces and how their sacrifices secured the freedoms we enjoy. When you plan your three-day getaway, go with a carrier known for reliability and schedule an early-morning flight. As the study shows, Hawaii and Alaska are a good bet when you want to arrive on time and enjoy a full vacation. So wax your surfboard, pack your fly rod, and get ready to explore. 

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Mark Reif
Mark Reif is a writer from Stowe, Vermont. During the winter, he works as a snowboard coach and rides more than 100 days. The…
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