Avoid Flight Delays by Considering Airline On-Time Performance

Last Updated Aug 3, 2010 12:37 AM EDT

Do you consider the reliability of an airline when booking a trip? It makes some sense to avoid traveling on a plane with a terrible on-time track record, but it's hard to know for sure airlines objectively perform better than others.

Recently, Things in the Sky published an interesting analysis of airline performance. They started with the DOT's official record of arrival delays. This monthly press release puts Hawaiian Airlines at the top of the heap month after month -- not necessarily because it's a hyper-efficient airline, but because it's flying into a low-traffic airport in consistently great weather. What about airlines that have to fly into Newark, JFK, and Chicago?

After normalizing the data by adjusting for the average delay at each airport, you get a very different story. United comes in about 8 minutes earlier than the industry average, taking the top spot for on-time arrivals -- followed by Alaska, Jetblue, and US Airways. [via Lifehacker]