Flight Delays and Cancellations of Top Four U.S. Airlines

Flight Delays - DIA

Many years ago, two weeks before a trip to Paris, France we got an email from American Airlines that they had made minor changes to an upcoming flight (I guess a 6-hour difference is minor to them). I honestly don’t know how they are still in business.  That was when we decided to stop flying American. We were sick and tired of all their flight delays, and cancellations. Thus on a trip a few years ago we had two first-class tickets to NYC in October just to use up their miles as we did not, and still don’t, plan to fly them again if possible.

AirportAnyway in true American Airlines fashion, they just discontinued our route home. After fighting, and waiting on hold for an hour, we were luckily able to be rerouted. However, we had to leave half an hour earlier than originally scheduled, and have to change planes in DFW  🙁  As I said before, this was at least the fifth or sixth time that they’ve done this to us, and we were tired of playing games with them.  Well, that trip home was a TOTAL NIGHTMARE. You can read about Our Horrible Experience to see how we were treated and why I am happy we are not flying them again. However, we are flying to NYC again later this month, not on American Airlines, but it made me stop and think about how many cancellations and delays there was each day. I know right now things are still messed up because of the stupid China virus, but I thought it would be fun to find out. 

Flight Delays - DelayedI wish I could have found out how many routes are rerouted weekly by American Airlines, but I was unable to get this data.  Shocking that they weren’t more helpful, lol.  Anyway, I did some research and found the site FlightAware.  It shows the number of cancellations and delays per day, per carrier, on a daily basis. I decided to use it to track the top four U.S. airlines: American, Delta, Southwest, and United for a week to see how they all compared. I know it is a small sample, but it should be good for what I am thinking. I am thoroughly convinced that American Airlines will be the worst, but I guess the data will speak for itself. With that in mind, I tracked the data from Thursday 7/30/2015 to Wednesday 8/5.  Here is what I found:

Flight Delays - AA

American Airlines
Date Canceled % Delayed %
April 21 45 1 656 18
April 22 48 1 652 18
April 23 16 0 518 15
April 24 33 0 496 14
April 25 31 0 510 15
April 26 13 0 479 14
April 27 12 0 369 10
Totals 198 0 3680 14.86

Flight Delays - Delta

Delta Airlines
Date Canceled % Delayed %
April 21 7 0 405 12
April 22 2 0 407 12
April 23 6 0 318 11
April 24 5 0 270 8
April 25 9 0 247 7
April 26 4 0 269 8
April 27 3 0 245 7
Totals 36 0 2161 9.29

Flight Delays - SWA

Southwest Airlines
Date Canceled % Delayed %
April 21 23 0 933 21
April 22 15 0 704 16
April 23 69 1 797 21
April 24 7 0 509 12
April 25 21 0 609 14
April 26 27 0 611 14
April 27 27 0 169 11
Totals 189 0 4332 15.57

Flight Delays - United

United Airlines
Date Canceled % Delayed %
April 21 24 1 510 22
April 22 24 1 360 16
April 23 30 1 375 18
April 24 28 1 378 17
April 25 23 1 351 15
April 26 16 0 421 19
April 27 12 0 314 14
Totals 157 1 2709 17.28

Flight Delays - DIA - Cancellations Sign

Well the data is in, and it looks like I was right and wrong on my hypothesis. The first part, cancellations, does look like American Airlines had the most of all four airlines. However, it looks like they were actually the second-best on delays minus Delta who had the least amount of delays. I find this very interesting and may track data for a longer amount of time and see if the results are the same. In the meantime, I am happy to know that I had a reason to be frustrated with American Airlines, lol. I hope you find this data helpful, or at least informational. If you have had flight delays or cancellation stories, please share. Let us all know we are not alone 🙂  Also, check out my airline-related post on Baggage Rules and Fees of Top 4 US Carriers. Thanks


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