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Revealed: The Most and Least On-Time U.S. Airlines in 2021

With increasing traffic figures, operational quality slides back into the spotlight of airline passengers. We've analyzed how U.S. airlines have performed so far in 2021 and put together the most and least on-time U.S. airlines.

After more than a year of a pandemic, U.S airlines are on their way back to pre-COVID traffic figures. Although there are still some miles to go, many airlines reported figures that reached 80% compared to pre-COVID times. And the summer —which is typically the most traffic-intense period— is yet to come.

However, with growing passenger numbers and flights, airlines’ operational quality is back in the focus of both airlines and passengers. That’s why we took a look and analyzed the first quarter of 2021 in terms of U.S. airlines’ on-time quality. Here are the results!

Top 3 On-Time U.S. Airlines in 2021

Let’s start with the top U.S. airlines when it comes to on-time performance.

#1 — Hawaiian Airlines

Similar to the last years, Hawaiian Airlines defends the title of the most on-time U.S. airline. Actually, this isn’t surprising since Hawaiian Airlines plays “On-Time Champions League” for many years. As a result, Hawaiian has also been named the world’s most punctual airline. In our latest worldwide ranking, Hawaiian Airlines ranked fourth.

2021’s Performance
During the first quarter of 2021, Hawaiian Airlines won the title of the punctual U.S. airlines two times. In January as well as in February, no other airlines achieved better on-time results. Hawaiian Airlines closed January with an on-time performance of 94.5% and February with 95.0%. Apparently, March was a challenging month for the carrier since the on-time performance dropped to 88.6. Hawaiian Airlines achieved an average on-time performance of 92.7% from January to March 2021. Here are the complete results:
* January: 94.5%
* February: 95%
* March: 88.6%

Airline Background
Hawaiian Airlines is based in Honululu and the tenth-largest passenger airline in the U.S. The carrier operates a fleet of 60 aircraft, 40 Airbus, and 20 Boeing. Hawaiian Airlines flies to some 30 destinations in North America, Asia, and Australia.

Most On-Time U.S. Airline — Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines — By Tomás Del Coro from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

#2 — Delta Airlines

Delta showed powerful results during the first three months of 2021 and ranked close behind Hawaiian Airlines. This is similar to 2019’s results, in which Delta achieved an annual on-time performance of 83.6%.

2021’s Performance
Delta Air Lines ranks among the most punctual U.S. airlines in each of 2021’s months so far. Moreover, the airline ranked first in March with an on-time performance of 93.1%. On average, Delta achieved an on-time performance of 90.5%. Here are the detailed results:
* January: 91.1%
* February: 87.3%
* March: 93.1%

Airline Background
Delta Air Lines, typically referred to as Delta, is another major U.S. carrier. With a fleet of 750 aircraft, Delta operates flights to 325 destinations. In addition, the airlines operate several hubs, such as Atlanta, Boston, or Detroit. Pre-COVID, the airline had 91,000 employees and handled 5,400 flights to 52 countries daily.

File:Delta Airlines Boeing 777-200 N862DA.jpg
Delta Aircraft, Source: Wikipedia

#3 — Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines completes the list of the most on-time U.S. airlines in the first quarter of 2021. Again, this is also in line with 2019’s results, where Alaska Airlines ranked 3rd behind Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines.

2021’s Performance
Alaska Airlines showed a solid performance during the first three months of 2021. Moreover, the airlines ranked third among the most punctual U.S. in January (91.8%).

Airline Background
Alaska Airlines is the fifth-largest U.S. airline measured by fleet size and passenger numbers. The carrier is headquartered close to Seattle and operates out of several hubs across the U.S. Alaska Airlines operates a fleet of 330 aircraft and flies to almost 100 destinations.

Most on-time U.S. Airlines: Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines — By Colin Brown Photography


Least On-Time U.S. Airlines in 2021

Let’s look at the bottom of the list and airlines that seem to bigger issues when operating punctual flights.


From a numbers point of view, Allegiant faces bigger challenges with restarting its operations after the pandemic. Back in 2019, the airline ranked 7th among the most on-time U.S. airlines. However, in the first quarter of 2021, we can find Allegiant among the worst punctual airlines each month. In February, Allegiant even reported the worst numbers of all U.S. airlines. On average, 1 out of five Allegiant flights did not arrive on time. Here are the details:
* January: 80.5%
* February: 75.6%
* March: 82.1%

Airline Background
Allegiant is an American ultra-low-cost airline that operates scheduled and charter flights. As a major air carrier, it is the fourteenth-largest commercial airline in North America. The airline operates more than 100 aircraft out of several operating bases. Allegiant flies to almost 130 destinations.

Lees On-Time
Allegiant —By Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK – Airbus A319-111 ‘N305NV’ Allegiant, CC BY-SA 2.0,

JetBlue Airways

Unfortunately, JetBlue showed similar performance in terms of on-time performance in 2021 as it did in 2019. In 2019 JetBlue was the least on-time U.S. airline among the big players. Within the first three months of 2021, JetBlue is part of the top 3 least on-time airlines in January and February. Moreover, in February, JetBlue showed a catastrophic result of 66.3%. In other words, every third flight JetBlue operated wasn’t on time.

Airline Background
JetBlue Airways is a major American low-cost airline and the seventh-largest airline in North America by passengers carried. JetBlue Airways is headquartered in Long Island City. JetBlue operates over 1,000 flights daily and serves 100 domestic and international network destinations in the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The airline operates a fleet of 270 aircraft.

A white plane with the word "jetBlue" painted in the front and a blue tailfin on the back prepares to land as its landing gear is deployed
JetBlue By Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK – Airbus A320-232 ‘N597JB’ JetBlue, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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