U.S. Airlines Saw Record Flight Delays in 2023

Delayed flight status | Image by gfdunt/Shutterstock

U.S. airports in 2023 saw the highest level of flight delays in nearly a decade.

Flight delays at U.S. airports reached a decade high in 2023, while flight cancelations dipped to their lowest point since 2016, according to historical data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

In 2023, about 22.06% of all flights experienced some form of delay, marking a slight increase from the 20.62% reported in 2022 and exceeding the highest percentage of delays (21.72%) since 2014.

While flight delays have risen over the last decade, flight cancelations have been on a steady downward trend over the same period.

Of the roughly 5.11 million flight operations at U.S. airports this year, 82,674 flights, or 1.62%, resulted in cancelations. This is down from the 2.76% or 139,683 reported in 2022 but up slightly from the 1.24% or 52,540 flights canceled in 2016.

For Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan, the focus is on getting its passengers to their destinations regardless of delays.

“I think our data would tell us that customers would rather be modestly delayed than have their flight canceled,” Jordan told The Dallas Morning News.

Approximately 3.17% of flights with Southwest were canceled last year, leaving the Dallas-based carrier with an on-time performance record of 71.61%, according to global travel data provider OAG, per the DMN. Other carriers experienced similar performance in 2022.

For instance, Delta Air Lines had an on-time performance of 81.79%, United Airlines had a performance of 79.1%, American Airlines scored 77.38%, and Southwest Airlines, at 71.61%, had the lowest on-time performance record during the year.

While delays are a common part of air travel, all airlines work to prevent unnecessary cancelations.

“We will delay parts of our operation to allow our crew members to stay intact and cancel less to ensure our customers are getting to their final destination,” said Jim Moses, senior VP of DFW Hub Operations at American Airlines, per the DMN.

The matter of delays and cancelations was addressed by the White House back in May.

“We know how frustrating delays, cancellations, and rebookings are for travelers,” said President Joe Biden. “While flight delays and cancellations have come down since [the COVID-19 pandemic], there’s still a problem.”

One such problem occurred for Southwest Airlines between December 21, 2022, and January 2, 2023. Southwest canceled or significantly delayed over 16,900 flights during this time, leaving millions stranded over the 2022 holiday season, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Southwest Airlines recently reached a $140 million settlement with the Department of Transportation regarding the carrier’s 2022 winter storm meltdown.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article