Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

This is the airline most likely to get you to your destination on time

If airport delays aren't the way you like to fly, then these are the best airlines to book with

We all know the drill. We get to the airport hours early to make sure you don’t miss your flight, only to find out it’s already been delayed. Now you’re stuck at the airport for half a day having to buy over-priced coffee to stay awake until your flight finally leaves. If you are tired of that life, the Department of Transportation recently released their findings on air travel — including the best airlines for on-time flights.

A person hauling their luggage down the hallway at an airport.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The top airline for on-time flights

The Department of Transportation looked at full-year flight data from 2022. The report defines an on-time flight as one that arrives at its destination within 15 minutes of its scheduled arrival time. So, who topped the list?

Delta Air Lines

We’ve had plenty of nice things to say about Delta lately, but it turns out, they’re also the airline you can set your clock by. Whether you looked at their month-to-month reporting, where they were always in the top three, or went straight to the yearly average, they were the airline most dedicated to getting customers to their final destination.

Delta Air Lines even crushed the competition for the busiest month of the year, coming in at number one with an impressive 77.5% of all flights coming in on time in December, with the average for all airlines being under 70%. Sorry, Southwest.

Delta finished the year strong with an on-time score of 82.1%, beating the airline average of 76.7%. (It was also the only airline to come in above 80% annually.)

The next best thing

If you don’t like Delta for whatever reason, you could almost set your watch to the second and third-place airlines.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines gave Delta a run for its money, taking the second place spot for airlines that worked hard getting people from here to there, scoring a 79.1% for the year. They could have taken the number one spot if their December number wasn’t a scary 60.5%, which was even worse than Southwest for that month.

United Airlines

Rounding out the top three airlines for on-time flights is United Airlines. Their year-end score was 78.7%, with their December flights landing at 71.8%, which makes them one of only three top airlines that scored over 70% for that fiasco of a month.

A flight departure board at an airport.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The late guys

We know you want to know which airlines were the worst timekeepers last year. The bottom two with the most airport delays shouldn’t be that big of a surprise if you’ve ever flown with them.


You know you trade your time for low prices when you fly Allegiant. They came in last place out of the main carriers, with a year-end average of 63.4% of flights being on time.

Their December was even worse than Southwest, with 57.2% of flights making it when they should.


JetBlue barely beat out Allegiant, with 64.6% of people knowing when they would arrive at their destination, and 59.1% of holiday travelers experiencing Christmas magic.

If you want to see how your favorite airline fared, check out the full report released by the DOT. Before you book your upcoming trip, see if you’ll need to bring something to do at the airport while you wait to board.

Editors' Recommendations

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
What happens if you miss a connecting flight? These travel tips will help you save your trip
Follow these tips if you miss your connecting flight
Woman at airport

Connecting flights is oftentimes a seamless experience, while other times, you may find yourself running full speed through the airport to make it to your plane. Missed connecting flights are an unfortunate aspect of frequent air travel. But what happens if you miss a connecting flight? Navigating the aftermath of a missed connecting flight can be intimidating and challenging, but with the right travel tips, you can make it to your final destination in an efficient manner.

Missing a connecting flight: the common causes
Several factors contribute to the common causes of a missed connecting flight. These factors range from airline-related issues to personal oversights. Generally, an airline will not sell you a ticket if they don’t believe you can make your connecting flight, but flight delays of even a few minutes can easily cascade into missed connections. 

Read more
Headed to Aspen for skiing or snowboarding? Here are the 5 hotels you should stay at
These are our top picks
Hotel Jerome Aspen

Aspen, Colorado, combines winter adventure and world-class attractions like few locations. Surrounded by four ski areas — Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Snowmass, and Aspen Highlands — the town offers abundant options for every skier and rider. With comfortable, charming accommodations on offer, you can kick back and relax after scoring powder turns. 

But some Aspen hotels stand out from the rest. Here are our five favorites.

Read more
Study says this airline is the most reliable, and we can almost guarantee you’ve never heard of it
The most reliable airline is small, regional, and on-time

Many airlines claim to be the most reliable, but which one can actually take this title? According to new market research from Anuvu, a leading aggregator of U.S. airline operating data, Avelo Airlines comes in at #1 on the list of best airlines in terms of reliability. This small Houston-based airline is unknown to many, but if you want to get to your destination on time, then you may want to see if they serve an airport near you.

The success of Avelo Airlines
Avelo Airlines was introduced in April of 2021 as an ultra-low-cost carrier, focusing on providing affordable air travel to various destinations. The airline is based in Houston, Texas, and operates flights from its primary hub at Hollywood Burbank Airport in California. 

Read more