Who Are The Best & Worst Airlines for Winter Holiday Travel & What Is the Likelihood of Your Holiday Flight Being Delayed?

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Holiday Flight Delays
Photo by Dmitry Terekhov.

Holiday Flight Delays – Who Is the Worst?

I just stumbled across an interesting article from Forbes about which airlines are best for holiday travel. For the article, they studied the performance of 14 major airlines during the holiday period of December 20 – January 6th by utilizing arrival statistics from the government.

Some interesting tidbits

  • Over the past three years 27.7% of flights arrived late during the holiday period.
  • 18% of flights were late in 2011, 32% in 2012 and 33% in 2013.

Best 3 On-Time Airlines During the Holidays:

  • Hawaiian Airlines – 8.7% of flights arrive late.
  • Alaska Airlines – 15.4% of flights arrive late.
  • Delta Airlines – 18.7% of flights arrive late.

Worst 3 On-Time Airlines During the Holidays:

  • Expressjet (Skywest) – 35% of flights arrive late.
  • JetBlue – 36% of flights arrive late.
  • Frontier – 40% of flights arrive late


Weather is a huge factor in the cause of delayed flights. Frontier obviously has issues with their Denver hub as does JetBlue with their heavy east coast presence. On the flip side, Hawaiian no doubt benefits from friendlier tropical climates.


I highly suggest heading over to the original Forbes article for more interesting information and a complete ranking of the 14 airlines studied. Hopefully everyone’s holiday flights will be on time, but statistics would seem to suggest that won’t happen!

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  1. Did you see my post from earlier today? Wasn’t specifically about holiday flights but talked about what time of day’s flights are more often delayed.

    As you can probably guess, flights that leave first thing in the morning are the most likely to be on-time, and delays reach their worst point about 5-6pm

    • Didn’t see your post, but just went over and read it. Makes a lot of sense since planes are already in place in the morning! In the case of holiday delays, geography seems to play the biggest part. It is crazy that 40% of Frontier’s flights arrive late during that time of year!


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