These are the airlines – and airports – most likely to experience delays or cancelations

Spirit airlines flight cancellations left passengers stranded
  • A new study reveals the airlines and airports that are the most likely to experience flight delays or cancelations.
  • The study looked at a two-year period from July 2019 to July 2021 to capture pre-pandemic and pandemic flying.
  • Allegiant Air and Newark Liberty International Airport are the entities most likely to have a flight disruption.

Airlines have had a rough couple of months with delays and cancelations, with many major US carriers experiencing operational meltdowns leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
Young airline passengers sit on their luggage outside a terminal building.
Passengers wait on their delayed flight Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
In early August, low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines had a five-day breakdown in which nearly 3,000 flights were canceled, costing the airline about $US50 ($AU68) million in revenue.
Spirit Airlines
Passengers wait in line at the Spirit Airlines check-in counter at Orlando International Airport on the sixth day the airline has canceled hundreds of flights, on August 6, 2021. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Source: CNBC
Then, over the Columbus Day weekend in October, Southwest Airlines experienced a combination of weather, staffing shortages, and air traffic control issues that snowballed into over 2,000 flight cancelations.
A side view of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 parked at an airport gate, with another Southwest plane climbing in the distance.
Some high-profile leaders blamed a vaccine-related protest for the staffing issues, but the airline and union denied the claims. CEO Gary Kelly apologized for the breakdown, and the company offered travelers “LUV vouchers” of up to $US250 ($AU338) to compensate.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly
CEO Gary Kelly Southwest Airlines
Most recently, American Airlines had its own slew of flight cancelations over Halloween weekend, saying strong winds in Dallas led to system-wide disruptions. More than 2,000 flights were canceled in four days, impacting over 136,000 passengers.
Masked American Airlines pilot
An American Airlines pilot. COOPER NEILL/AFP/Getty
As the holiday season draws near, travelers are beginning to worry if they will get to their destination on time. However, a new study by The Family Vacation Guide revealed the airlines and airports that are most and least likely to experience delays or cancelations, and it could help travelers in their vacation planning.
Airline passengers standing in line to go through security.
Travelers in line at a TSA checkpoint David Zalubowski, AP Photo
The study took data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics from July 2019 to July 2021 to determine the percentage of on-time flights for the country’s 13 major mainline and regional airlines and 50 busiest airports. The time frame captured pre-pandemic and pandemic flying, as well as operations during the start of the COVID recovery.
A Southwest Airlines plane lands at Los Angeles International Airport next to American Airlines planes.
A Southwest Airlines plane lands at Los Angeles International Airport. FG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty
According to the study, only three airlines had more than 20% of their flights canceled or delayed over the two-year period. BTS defines a delayed flight as arriving at least 15 minutes late. The bottom three carriers include Frontier Airlines with 21.24% of flights late or canceled…
Frontier Airlines Airbus A321
A Frontier Airlines Airbus A321. Carlos Yudica/
JetBlue Airways with 23.20%…
JetBlue Airways taking delivery of its first Airbus A321neoLR
JetBlue Airways’ first Airbus A321neoLR. JetBlue Airways and Airbus
And Allegiant Air with 27.31%, making it the airline most likely to delay or cancel a flight.
Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock
The study also revealed the airlines least likely to disrupt your travel plans, including Republic Airways, which is a subsidiary of American Airlines, with 15.73% of flights delayed or canceled…
American Eagle E175
Delta Air Lines with 13.31%…
Delta Air Lines A350
And Hawaiian Airlines with just 11%, making it the most reliable airline in terms of on-time performance.
Hawaiian Airlines
The Family Vacation Guide’s study also looked at which of the 50 busiest airports in the US experienced the most flight delays and cancelations, and the top two were both New York City airports. The lowest-ranked was Newark Liberty International Airport with 24.29%…
United Club Newark Airport
Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport Thomas Pallini/Business Insider
With LaGuardia Airport coming in second with 22.52%.
Inside the American Express Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia Airport - Amex Centurion Lounge LaGuardia Airport
Touring American Express’ new Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia Airport. Thomas Pallini/Insider
Only two other airports had more than 20% flight disruptions, including Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at 20.77%…
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
And Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at 20.22%.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport YES Market Media/Shutterstock
Meanwhile, the airports least likely to disrupt travels are Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport with 12.73% of flights late or canceled…
Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport
Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport Jeffrey J Coleman/Shutterstock
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with 12.68%…
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
And Daniel K Inouye International in Honolulu, Hawaii, with just 11.69%.
Daniel K Inouye International Airport
Daniel K Inouye International Airport cleanfotos/Shutterstock
While airports and airlines try to keep the operation running smoothly, things do and will go wrong at some point, so travelers should always be prepared to experience a delay or cancelation.
Spirit airlines flight cancellations left passengers stranded
Booking airfare with a travel credit card can help get compensated for disruptions, while booking nonstop flights will eliminate the possibility of missing a connection due to a delay.
Passport and Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card
Passport and Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card Evgenia Parajanian/Shutterstock