INFOGRAPHIC: America’s Best and Worst Airlines

INFOGRAPHIC: America’s Best and Worst Airlines

What you need to know

Who should you fly with when you need to arrive on time?

Videos of a passenger being forcibly removed from a United Airlines aircraft grabbed international headlines over the past week, and the incident has led to wide discussions on the legality of overbooked flights and how to avoid getting bumped off a flight.

United States Department of Transportation statistics show more than 475,000 passengers bumped off U.S. domestic flights in 2016, and six major U.S. airlines each denied the boarding of more than 220,000 people from 2012 to 2016.


Delta Airlines ranked first in the number of passengers denied boarding, United Airlines placed third, and Hawaiian Airlines came in last. But looking at the rate of those being forced off flights, ExpressJet Airlines places first with 2.04 people out of every 10,000 denied boarding.


Aside from being bumped off a flight, cases of flights being delayed or canceled are also common among U.S. airlines. So which airline has a higher possibility of arriving as scheduled?

The News Lens compiled three figures from 2016 — flight delay rate, flight cancellation rate, and the number of people involuntarily denied boarding — and found that JetBlue had the worst results in all three categories. Hawaiian Airlines has the best numbers in all items but offers fewer flights and destinations, while Delta Airlines offers more flights with good numbers in the three categories.


NOTE: “Involuntarily denied boarding” occurs when an air carrier refuses to allow a passenger to board even when the person has a confirmed reservation, complete travel documentation and sufficient time to complete check-in, security and boarding procedures. The airline must offer compensation in these incidents. If a passenger agrees to give up their seat upon an airline’s request, the person is “voluntarily denied boarding,” and it is up to the passenger what benefits they agree with the air carrier. When an air carrier calls for volunteers and an insufficient number of passengers give up their seats, then those who did not volunteer but are refused boarding anyway are “involuntarily denied boarding.”

Editor: Edward White