Virgin America, JetBlue Operating Less Than 70% of Flights On Time in 2017
Believe it or not, the most-hated and worst-ranked airline in the US isn’t the worst performing airline in the US. Instead, Virgin America and JetBlue’s on-time percentages are making Spirit Airlines’ 75.5% on-time percentage look pretty good.
Based on statistics from January through October 2017 — which is the most recently released data — both Virgin America and JetBlue have less than a 70% on-time percentage.
|Airline||On-Time||% Late||% Cancelled||% Diverted|
Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics year-to-date through October 2017. Percentages for on-time and delayed flights are rounded.
We were wondering if this poor performance could be due to JetBlue’s significant operations at New York’s JFK — which underwent a lengthy runway re-construction project through 2017 — and Virgin America’s heavy presence in delay-prone Los Angeles (LAX). However, based on October 2017 data, these airlines are underperforming even at their home bases:
There’s a bit of a trick to these stats though — the three large US carriers utilize regional carriers, such as SkyWest, ExpressJet and about a dozen other smaller airlines. When there are weather or air traffic issues, the mainline carriers will force their regional partners to take delays in order to allow the mainline carriers to operate closer to schedule.
Then when it comes to reporting delays, the mainline airlines are able to tout their better performance, while conveniently, many of the regional partners are too small to require detailed performance reporting (and those that do report their operations operate as regional carriers for multiple legacy carriers). This makes it impossible to re-weight the results to include the regional carriers with the mainline operations.
Another bit of trickery: schedule padding. Many airlines will schedule flights for longer than the flight should take, which allows a little wiggle room to make up for delays and still have an on-time arrival. In fact, when Bloomberg spoke with JetBlue about their poor on-time performance, the airline explained that it padded its schedule less than its competitors.
Featured image by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees