We all love a comfy seat, service with a smile and maybe even a nice gin and tonic to settle into the journey, but air travel is all about getting from Point A to Point B with an on time flight.
When it comes to doing so, there’s a huge disparity between the airlines which give you the best chance of doing so, and the worst. Cirium, a leading data analytics firm has crunched the numbers from 2019, and has revealed the best airlines and airports for on time flight performance. Here are a few airlines to look out for…
Before breaking down the results for a few key regions, it’s fun to take a look at the overall winners. Consider this the Academy Awards of on time performance on a global scale, rather than just against other local airlines. And the winners are…
- Aeroflot, with 86.68% of flights on time.
- ANA, with 86.2% of flights on time.
- Delta, with 85.69% of flights on time.
- Azul, with 83.53% of flights on time
- JAL, with 82.82% of flights on time.
Alitalia, Air France, Emirates, Korean and SAS round out the top ten, and there are a few interesting points to note with the results. Perhaps most impressive here is actually Delta, who came third with over 1.1 million flights in 2019, compared to under 300,000 from every other top 10 competitor. It’s not easy to keep on time performance at that scale.
Also super impressive? The Japanese carriers. Japan suffered through incredibly powerful typhoons in 2019, yet despite this, both airlines managed to actually improve overall on time performance. Can you even imagine the numbers had they not been so adversely affected by weather?
And of course, there’s Aeroflot – the most punctual mainline airline of 2019. This is impressive stuff, and with over 290,000 flights in the year, it’s quite an accomplishment. For comparison sake, that’s almost 100,000 more than many other airlines in the rankings. LATAM actually took Aeroflot’s place based on “network” performance, rather than mainline, but other than that, the rankings remained in tact.
And the winner is… Virgin Atlantic. And the loser is… EasyJet. Despite these country specific accolades, none of the UK’s airlines featured in the top 10 for Europe, where Aeroflot, Iberia, S7, Alitalia and Air France claimed top 5 spots.
Virgin Atlantic earned its second year as the UK’s most punctual airline, which is fairly handy timing, given their current campaign that Britain deserves a second flag carrier is in full swing. British Airways rose to second place, followed by Ryanair and AerLingus. Unfortunately for EasyJet, they came dead last.
Really, you’ve just gotta hand it to Delta. This is the second consecutive year where the US airline featured top three overall globally, and number one in the United States. In reality, Delta’s only real statistical competitor for US on-time performance is Alaska Airlines.
Southwest placed third, Spirit fourth and American rounded out the top 5 at fifth. United ranked seventh and JetBlue managed second to last, just above Frontier.
Interestingly, Delta had the highest percentage of flights “tracked”. In other words, they were the most transparent with their data, with the fewest gaps in reporting, with 99.78% of flights tracked successfully, as opposed to Spirit, with just 91.98%.
If you’re looking for an on time flight, statistics show that picking a Japanese carrier is a shrewd choice. Not only did Japan offer two of the world’s five most punctual mainline airlines with ANA and JAL, it also boasts the leading “low cost” airline for on-time performance, with StarFlyer.