The Worst Airlines for Flight Delays In the United States and Around the World
Jump straight to:
- List of most delayed airlines in the U.S.
- List of most delayed airlines in the world
- How travel insurance can help with flight delays
Not only does the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) gather detailed data on the worst airports for flight delays, but it also gathers data on the worst airlines for flight delays. And some of the things it’s found might surprise you.
First, many who travel by air have experienced a flight delay in the last several years, in part because the number of delayed flights keeps increasing.
ValuePenguin looked at delay percentages from 2013-2022, and the percentage of delayed flights in the first half of 2022 (20.1%) was the highest it’s been since 2014.
DOT data shows that airports like Chicago Midway, Orlando, and Dallas’ Love Field are particularly susceptible to delays over the holidays, when travel demand peaks and weather deteriorates.
It’s not just the airports; the airlines that serve these airports cause delays as well.
The cost of airline delays
Whoever’s at fault, airline delays cost airlines and travelers big money.
For airlines, delays cost them several billion dollars each year in additional expenses, lost productivity, wages, and goodwill, according to the industry group Airlines For America (AFA).
Not only are delays bad for an airline’s bottom line, but they put more stress on the pilots, flight attendants, gate agents, and ground personnel that have to pivot to service a delayed flight.
As serious as that sounds, the costs for air travelers are even higher. AFA cites data from the Federal Aviation Administration that puts the bill for delays to travelers estimated at $28 billion.
That’s a big number – and it doesn’t begin to account for the cost of stress on delayed travelers.
How travel protection can help
Travel protection from Generali can help in several ways if you’re experiencing a flight delay:
Expenses while delayed
Travel delays can be costly, as travelers have to pay for unplanned purchases out of pocket. If you’re delayed during your trip, Travel Delay coverage may reimburse you for reasonable meals, telephone calls, additional parking charges, pet kennel fees, local transportation and even lodging during your delay.
Important Note: Travel Delay can only be used if your delay is for ten hours or more with the Standard Plan, eight hours or more with the Preferred Plan and six hours or more with the Premium Plan.
Delayed baggage and sporting equipment
If your delay causes you to not receive your baggage or sporting equipment promptly when you reach your destination, you might find yourself stranded without essential personal items or clothing that you need to enjoy your trip as planned. And travel insurance has coverages that can help.
Baggage Delay coverage may reimburse you for the reasonable cost of clothes and other personal items that you have to buy while your baggage is delayed.
Sporting Equipment Delay coverage may reimburse you for the cost of renting replacement equipment and/or locating your delayed sporting equipment and having it returned to you.
Important Notes: To qualify for coverage, baggage must be delayed for at least 24 hours with a Standard Plan, 18 hours with a Preferred Plan and 12 hours with a Premium Plan. Sporting Equipment must be delayed for at least 18 hours with the Preferred Plan, 12 hours with the Premium Plan, and coverage is not included with the Standard Plan.
If your flight delay is so severe that it forces you to interrupt or even end your trip, Generali may reimburse you for any nonrefundable insured trip costs that you aren’t able to use, and expenses to get home or back on your trip with Trip Interruption coverage.
Important note: The flight cancellation or delay must be due to mechanical breakdown, adverse weather or labor strikes that affect public transportation to qualify for coverage.
Every travel protection plan from Generali includes 24/7 Travel Assistance that can help you make alternative arrangements.
The United States’ Most Delayed Airlines
According to the February 2023 Air Travel Consumer Reports, these were the worst airlines for on-time performance in 2022:
Allegiant flies from cold-weather destinations to warm-weather destinations and back again – particularly Las Vegas, where chances of an on-time arrival are less than 50-50. Also, Allegiant flies into some smaller northern-tier airports that are particularly susceptible to delays.
JetBlue is often thought of as an East Coast airline, and it does fine with flights in the Northeast Corridor. Where it falls short is on flights from the East Coast to sunny destinations like Phoenix or Orlando.
It’s a low-cost carrier that flies to many smaller destinations that are often affected by weather. It also has issues flying into and out of Philadelphia, Miami, and Tampa.
Another no-frills carrier that some might have expected to see higher on the list, Spirit is in a similar situation as Frontier, with similar results.
Spirit’s winter performance seems to deteriorate more than other carriers; in the summer, it’s one of the leaders in on-time arrival and flight-cancellation percentage.
It’s a primary airline serving two of the nation’s delay capitals, Chicago Midway and Dallas Love Field, which doesn’t help its’ delay score.
The largest carrier in the top 10, American is hurt by poor on-time performance at LaGuardia, Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, Denver, and Salt Lake City.
Hawaiian Air is generally not on this list, but the carrier had a bad year in 2022 – especially with its flights out of JFK.
Republic operates flights for United Express, American Eagle, and Delta Connection, the three chief carriers serving the nation’s smallest airports. Of course, there are going to be delays.
As you might expect, Alaska’s performance deteriorates in the winter, especially on flights out of Alaska to Pacific Coast destinations like Seattle, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City.
The World’s Most Delayed Airlines
According to aviation expert Sam Chui, Europe’s most delayed airlines in July 2022 were:
- Turkish Airlines
- Air France
In Asia the most-delayed airlines were:
- China Southern
- China Eastern
- Beijing Airlines
- VietJet Air
The most delayed airlines in the Middle East were:
- Qatar Airways
- Pakistan International Airlines
The most delayed in Latin America were:
- GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes
- Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras
And finally, the most delayed in Africa were:
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Royal Air Maroc
- Air Algerie
- Tunis Air
It’s clear that flight delays are just a part of flying, no matter where you go. Help protect your vacation investment from travel delays with Generali travel protection. Get a quote today.