Southwest Worst in On-Time Arrivals

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Southwest (Stock Quote:LUV) and JetBlue (Stock Quote:JBLU) may offer the cheapest fares, but among large domestic carriers, their flights are the least likely to arrive on time.

According to a new study conducted by FlightStats, a company that provides airline performance data, only 75.5% of Southwest flights arrive as scheduled, putting the carrier in 31st place when compared to other domestic carriers. JetBlue finished one place ahead with 78.56% of its flights arriving on time.

Top honors in the study go to Hawaiian Airlines, 95.28% of whose flights arrive as scheduled.

FlightStats ranked the airlines by tracking the performance of more than 150,000 flights per day from 43 domestic airlines. There were airlines that ranked below Southwest, but these were typically small local carriers that service limited areas. Penair, for example, the carrier that technically posted the lowest rating overall (only 42.53% of its flights arrive on time) is an Alaskan commuter airline that only travels to cities in Southern Alaska.

Generally speaking, domestic airlines posted a 82.58% on-time performance in September, down three percentage points from September last year. Additonally, cancellations were up significantly from last September's mark of 0.65%. There were 8,723 cancellations in September 2010 compated to  4,472 in Sept. 2009.

"It's a disturbing trend, and I can assure you our guys are on it," a Southwest spokesman told The Chicago Tribune when asked about why the company was below the reported average.

The airline posting the second highest percentage of on-time flight arrivals was AirTran, the discount carrier that Southwest actually purchased in September.

Here’s a breakdown of how other major U.S. airlines performed:

  • Alaska Airlines: 89.55%
  • United Airlines: 88.93%
  • US Airways :86.63%
  • Continental Airlines: 85.62%
  • Spirit: 82.16%
  • American Airlines:81.78%
  • Delta: 80.98%

You can check here to view FlightStats complete rankings.

This isn’t the first time Hawaiian Airlines has been lauded for its reliability. In February, the carrier ranked the highest on the Airline Quality Rating, a annual study that measures more than just how often the flights were on time, You can check this MainStreet article to find out how your favorite airline fared.

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