Back to All ArticlesBack to All Articles

What do one of the world’s most profitable airlines and America’s most delayed airline have in common?

AuthorThe AirHelper

The most profitable airline in the U.S. — and the second most profitable airline in the world — is also the most delayed airline in the U.S. This award goes to none other than Spirit Airlines.

The 30 year old airline is also 1 of the 7 low cost airlines in the US. Spirit Airlines is the only 2 star airline in the United States according to Skytrax’s airline rating system. Skytrax awards the 2-star airline rating to airlines that deliver a lower quality performance, below the industry Quality average across many rating sectors.

This effectively means that the most profitable US airline and the most delayed airline are one and the same.

Does this mean the industry is rewarding airlines that treat passengers badly? 

According to data we’ve obtained from FlightView and, two of the most profitable airlines in the US last year, Frontier and Spirit Airlines, had two of the worst delay percentages in June of this year. Spirit managed to land only 51% of their flights on time last month! This high percentage of delays is part of a trend being seen at US airports recently. Month on month, US airports are seeing worsening delay performance, with on-time departures dropping to 69% in June! (Compare that to 74.2% in May.)

Airline Delay Performance

How does this compare to the rest of the world?

In their latest Global Airline On-Time Report, FlightView reported that only 3 US Airlines managed to break the top 100 on-time airlines in the world, while airlines like American Airlines, Southwest, Frontier, United, and Spirit all ranked in the bottom 150 airlines in terms of on-time performance.


FlightView Data

via FlightView’s Global Airline On-Time Report June 2015


The question is, why can’t these profitable airlines manage to give customers what they paid for?

Maybe airlines, like Amazon, should offer a delivery guarantee.

Share your thoughts in the comments below: 

travel industry ebook cover

Get the industry report

The air travel industry hit some highs and lows last year. Check out how it impacted passengers.

Get paid for your delayed, canceled or overbooked flight from the last three years.

Check your flight

It only takes 3 minutes