The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

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Traveling is stressful. The long lines, expensive food and extensive security can be anxiety-inducing for any traveler — and that’s just the airport. There isn’t anything much worse than getting to the gate, only to discover your flight has been delayed, or worse, canceled.

“There is really no consistency ever,” said Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Company, an airline consulting firm. “Customers experience all the variability. They are always asking, ‘The airlines have been doing this for how long, and they still can’t get it right?’”

A Policygenius survey revealed one in five people say no amount of money is worth losing their seat on a flight. Some even said they would rather sit next to a crying baby then get stuck at the gate.

While there’s no guarantee your flight will leave and arrive on time, savvy travelers may want to be more considerate when picking which airline they fly with.

The Policygenius Airline Index reports which airlines are the most and least reliable to fly on.

Image Credit: iStock.

Methodology

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

The index doesn’t just measure the airline’s ability to get you to your destination on time. It also takes into account the potential for lost luggage (a surefire vacation-ruiner), customer satisfaction and cancellations.

 

The Policygenius Airline Index is made up of five figures, combined and weighted equally. We looked at data from the first four months of 2019 from the 10 airline marketing carriers. (A marketing carrier is defined as a carrier that’s part of a code-share agreement. They sell flights under their name, even though they are operated by another carrier.)

  • On-time arrivals: Percentage of flights that have arrived on time.
  • Flight cancellations: Percentage of flights canceled.
  • Flight delays: Percentage of flights delayed due to circumstances within the airline’s control, including maintenance and crew problems.
  • Mishandled bags: Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers.
  • Complaints: Number of complaints per 100,000 passengers.

We combined these numbers to make the Policygenius Airline Index. Each airline is scored out of 50. A higher score means a more reliable airline.

Want to learn more? Check out this comprehensive airline-by-airline guide to fees, bumping and more.

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The most reliable airline: Delta Airlines Network

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 82.7%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 0.97%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 4.38%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 4.68

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 0.43

Image Credit: Boarding1Now / iStock.

2nd most reliable airline: Hawaiian Airlines Network

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 86.3%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 0.34%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 7.76%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 4.17

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 0.93

Image Credit: rypson / iStock.

3rd most reliable airline: Allegiant Air

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 79.7%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 0.77%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 4.93%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 1.70

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 1.60

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

4th most reliable airline: Spirit

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 82%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 1.57%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 3.56%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 4.27

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 2.10

Image Credit: Boarding1Now / iStock.

5th most reliable airline: Alaska Airlines Network

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 79%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 2.51%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 4.25%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 5.86

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 0.66

Image Credit: tupungato / iStock.

6th most reliable airline: Southwest Airlines

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 78.7%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 4.15%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 6.08%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 4.66

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 0.40

Image Credit: Southwest Airlines.

7th most reliable airline: Frontier Airlines

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 76.1%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 1.6%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 6.23%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 3.94

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 2.26

Image Credit: Frontier Airlines.

8th most reliable airline: United Airlines Network

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 74.8%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 3.33%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 5.10%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 5.63

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 1.09

Image Credit: martince2 / iStock.

9th most reliable airline: JetBlue Airways

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 71.7%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 2.16%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 8.85%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 5.38

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 0.71

Image Credit: JetBlue Airways.

Least reliable airline: American Arlines Network

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Percent of on-time arrivals: 77.5%

Percent of operations cancelled to flights scheduled: 2.93%

Percent of flights with delays due to air carrier issues: 5.25%

Number of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers: 7.99

Complaints per 100,000 passengers: 1.51

Image Credit: American Airlines.

How to travel smart

The most & least reliable US airlines of 2019

Travelers can’t control delays or cancellations. But they can make the rest of the vacation smoother by preparing financially. While we all like to splurge on vacation, there are a few ways to get your budget ready for travel.

  • Make a vacation budget. Getting a sense of how much money you need to save ahead of time reduces stress. Make sure to think through all the activities you want to do and budget them in. We have a handy vacation spreadsheet here.
  • Free up some extra funds. Cut back on unnecessary expenses in the months or weeks leading up to your vacation. Got old junk around the house? Consider selling it to make some extra vacation money. (Here’s how.)
  • Get travel insurance. It’s a worthwhile investment. Travel insurance can financially protect you when the unexpected happens on your trip, in addition to providing health coverage and emergency aid.

This article originally appeared on Policygenius and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

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