The payout totals $1.6 billion, which equals about two months extra pay for its 90,000 employees

Delta ranks near top for on-time performance

Delta Air Lines ranks near the top for on-time performance among U.S. airlines, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The federal Air Travel Consumer Report on airline performance in 2019 put Atlanta-based Delta at No. 2 for on-time arrivals, just behind Hawaiian Airlines in the top spot.

Delta — its mainline flights and Delta Connection flights operated by Compass, Endeavor, GoJet, Republic and SkyWest — had 83.5% of its flights arrive on time last year, according to the bureau.

Hawaiian, a smaller airline based in Honolulu, had 87.7% of its flights arrive on time. Frontier was at the bottom of the list. A flight is counted as “on time” in the federal data if it arrives within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.

With Delta as the dominant carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson International, the Atlanta airport had the best on-time arrival performance in 2019 among the 30 major U.S. airports ranked.

Overall, U.S. airlines had an on-time arrival rate of 79%, down slightly from 79.2% in 2018. That means roughly one in five flights was delayed.

The U.S. airline industry’s performance also declined in other areas, including cancellations, passenger bumping and animal incidents.

U.S. airlines canceled 1.9% of their domestic flights, compared to 1.7% in 2018.

The number of lengthy tarmac delays also increased. In December alone, there were more than two dozen flights that had tarmac delays longer than three hours. More than a dozen were Delta tarmac delays — almost all of them at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport amid snowstorms.

The rate of passenger bumping, or involuntary denied boarding, was 0.24 per 10,000 passengers in 2019, up from 0.14 in 2018.

The U.S. Department of Transportation received fewer complaints overall about airline service in 2019 compared with the previous year. But the number of complaints about treatment of disabled passengers and discrimination increased.

The federal report also now includes data on airline mishandling of wheelchairs and scooters, and showed that airlines checked 685,792 wheelchairs and scooters in 2019 and mishandled 10,548 of them. That’s a mishandling rate of 1.54%.

U.S. airline on-time performance in 2019

1. Hawaiian, 87.7%

2. Delta, 83.5%

3. Alaska, 81.3%

4. Southwest, 80.2%

5. Spirit, 79.5%

6. Allegiant, 78.7%

7. American, 77.4%

8. United, 75.2%

9. JetBlue, 73.5%

10. Frontier, 73.1%

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.