The U.S. Airlines Most Likely to Delay or Cancel Your Flight, According to a New Study

It's been a rough few weeks for airlines. Between bad weather and crew shortages, some major air carriers have made headlines, as they've had to delay or cancel hundreds of flights, leaving passengers stranded. As travel revs up ahead of the holiday season, potential passengers may be wondering where to hedge their bets when it comes to avoiding a vacation-ruining delay.

That's where The Family Vacation Guide comes in. Using data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the website's newest study reveals the U.S. airlines and airports that most often experience delays. For frequent fliers and newbie alike, it may come as no surprise that even the biggest and most equipped airlines and airports are still prone to these scheduling issues.

According to the study, the two airports with the most frequent delays are both in the New York tri-state area: Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, with the percentage of on-time flight arrivals recorded at 75.71% and 77.48%, respectively.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport came in third place, with flights arriving as scheduled 79.23% of the time. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was next, with a slightly better record of 79.78% on-time flights. And Palm Beach International Airport, with 80.34% of flights arriving without a delay, rounded out the top five.

Plane and Flight information screens double exposure
Plane and Flight information screens double exposure

Getty Images

On the flip side of things, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Hawaii (88.31%); Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (87.32%); and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (87.27%) had the best on-time flight records.

In terms of airlines, the top five carriers with the most delays were a mix of budget and non-budget airlines. Allegiant Air had the most delays, with an on-time arrival record of 72.69%. JetBlue came in second place, with 76.80%. Frontier Airlines (78.76%), Envoy Air (80.48%), and United Airlines (81.40%) followed, rounding out the top five. American Airlines narrowly missed the top five, with an on-time record of 81.45%.

To reach these conclusions, the team of analysts at The Family Vacation Guide looked at the BTS' data on airline on-time statistics and delay causes for the period of July 2019 to July 2021. Those numbers were then used to calculate the percentage of on-time flight arrivals for the 50 busiest airports in the U.S., as well as the country's 13 major mainline passenger and regional passenger airlines.

To read the full report, visit The Family Vacation Guide website.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.