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Best and Worst Airlines To Take During Memorial Day

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By Eric Weisbrot

Memorial Day weekend is one of the year’s busiest travel periods, with millions of Americans taking to the skies for a well-deserved break. This increased flight demand can lead to delays and cancellations, causing frustration for travelers. To help you make informed decisions when booking your Memorial Day travel, we analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report to identify the best and worst airlines to rely on during this hectic holiday weekend.

In this article, we reveal the top-performing airlines, the carriers to avoid, and the best and worst times to fly to minimize the risk of delays. By the end, you’ll be ready to plan the least stressful Memorial Day getaway possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International has the 6th most delayed departures during Memorial Day weekend, with 21.2% of all flights during this time experiencing delayed departures
    • Orlando International has the 7th most delayed departures (20%)
  • Miami International has the 9th most on-time departures, with 81.8% of flights during Memorial Day weekend departing on time
  • Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines are the best airlines to fly during Memorial Day weekend as they have the fewest departure delays.
  • Virgin Atlantic, Frontier Airlines, and JetBlue Airways are the worst airlines to fly during Memorial Day weekend as they have the most departure delays.
  • Early morning flights generally have the best on-time departure performance. Flights scheduled between 6-7 a.m. across various airports have high on-time percentages, with most airports as high as 96.4%.
  • Afternoon and early evening flights generally have the worst on-time departure performance. Flights between 2-3 p.m. tend to have lower on-time percentages, with some airports dipping as low as 64.8%.

Flight Delays by Airline

Average Departure Delays By Airline

Faith Based Events
  • The airlines with the lowest percentage of delays during Memorial Weekend are Hawaiian Airlines (10%), Alaska Airlines (11%), and Delta Air Lines (14%).
  • The airlines with the highest percentage of delays during Memorial Weekend are Virgin Atlantic (29%), Frontier Airlines (23%), and JetBlue Airways (23%).

Delayed and On-Time Departures by Airport

Delayed and On-Time Departures by Airport

  • The airports with the highest percentage of on-time departures during Memorial Day Weekend are:
    • Salt Lake City, UT: SLC (87.5%)
    • Seattle, WA: SEA (86.1%)
    • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: MSP (85.8%)
  • The airports with the highest percentage of delayed departures during Memorial Day Weekend are:
    • San Francisco, CA: SFO (27.8%)
    • Newark, NJ: EWR (23.7%)
    • Boston, MA: BOS (22.6%)

Best and Worst Times To Fly

  • Early morning flights generally have the best on-time departure performance. Flights scheduled between 6-7 a.m. across various airports have high on-time percentages, with most airports as high as 96.4%.
  • Afternoon and early evening flights generally have the worst on-time departure performance. Flights between 2-3 p.m. tend to have lower on-time percentages, with some airports dipping as low as 64.8%.

Methodology

All data was collected from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report, covering Memorial Day Weekend air travel from 2015-2023. We compared average departure delays among the top 10 commercial airlines. We also analyzed delayed and on-time flight departures from 406 U.S. airports.

Source: News Release