When you buy a ticket, there is an implicit contract. You pay the full price asked, and you expect to get the schedule you paid for.  Contract? What contract? US airlines are not obligated to give you what you paid for. See Delta’s “Contact of Carriage” as an example. The consumer, in the US, has no protection. Take a look at our US airline schedule performance.

But armed with some data you can get an idea of what to expect. This is the basis of our US Airline Schedule Performance monitor. Please click the double-headed arrow at the bottom right of the model below to optimize your viewing.

The model previously was published as a one-pager. But we had an epiphany today and added page 2. On page 2 you can select a year (the default is 2022) to see when each of the big US airlines have their schedule go wobbly. The X-axis is the time block of the day. The Y-axis is the number of minutes of arrival delay. Each airline is listed in a different color to make it more interesting.

The pictures should help you plan your air travel better. ALWAYS take the earliest flight you can. Because most airlines go wobbly very early in the day. Southwest has the most consistent performance and goes wobbly late in the morning. By the end of the day, Southwest is, on average, about an hour late. Frontier and JetBlue have the highest arrival delays. 

Go through the years to get an idea of the consistent behavior. 2020 was great – at least one good thing during the pandemic.

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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