Last updated: 01:31 PM ET, Tue March 17 2015

DOT: Fewer Flights Delayed or Canceled This Year So Far

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | March 17, 2015

DOT: Fewer Flights Delayed or Canceled This Year So Far

Image courtesy of Thinkstock/cherezoff

Despite another brutal winter, the U.S.'s largest airlines' overall on-time performance was much-improved in January 2015 compared to last year.

The U.S. Department of Transportation revealed flight data this week that shows more flights were on time and fewer were canceled over the course of this past January as compared to January 2014.

According to the DOT, 76.8 percent of flights operated by the major U.S. airlines were on time in January, up significantly from 67.7 percent the year before. Plus, only 2.5 percent of flights were canceled in January, down from 6.5 percent in January 2014.

The DOT report also revealed how individual airlines performed this past January.

With an on-time rate of 86.1 percent, Delta Air Lines topped the list, followed by Hawaiian Airlines (85.5 percent), Alaska Airlines (84.6 percent), Virgin America (82.2 percent), and Southwest Airlines (79.1 percent).

Meanwhile, Envoy Air finished with the lowest on-time arrival rate at 60.4 percent, with Frontier Airlines (67.1 percent), and JetBlue Airways (71.9 percent) ranking toward the bottom as well.

Notably, Spirit Airlines was included in the on-time rate rankings for the first time in 2015, ranking 11th among the 14 airlines with an on-time rate of 71.9 percent. What's more, only Frontier ranked worse than Spirit in rate of complaints. 

Envoy (7.7 percent) and JetBlue (5.1 percent) also ranked Nos. 1 and 2 respectively in highest rate of canceled flights. ExpressJet Airlines was third-worst with a cancellation rate of 3.4 percent.

The top performing airlines in the cancellation category were Hawaiian (0.4 percent), Alaska (0.5 percent), and Delta (1.1 percent).

As for the leading causes of flight delays among the reporting airlines, 6.4 percent were delayed by aviation system delays, 7.3 percent by late-arriving aircraft, six percent by factors within the airline’s control, including maintenance or crew problems, and 0.7 percent by extreme weather.

U.S. airlines also reported five tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights this past January, however, three of those came at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Jan. 5 in the wake of a snowstorm. 

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