News, Culture & Society

Delta ranks first in 2019 airline scorecard while American is the worst

Buying or leasing a car in the UK? Check MOT of car before you do.

Delta ranks first in 2019 airline scorecard while American is the worst based on delays, cancellations, and mishandled baggage – but data shows passenger misery is up across the board

  • Major US carriers were ranked by the Wall Street Journal on their 2019 performance
  • On-time arrivals, cancellations, extreme delays, mishandled baggage and more were tallied up
  • Delta and Alaska were the top two airlines, while United and American the worst
  • Delta involuntarily bumped a total of nine passengers for the year; American bumped more than 15,000 


Airline rankings for 2019 have been released, crowning Delta as the top U.S. carrier and ranking United and American as the worst.

The rankings released on Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal rely on federal and private data to score the airlines in seven categories, including on-time arrivals, cancelled flights, and mishandled baggage. 

The data show an overall increase in passenger misery in 2019, with higher rates of flight cancellations, long delays, bumped passengers and consumer complaints.

However, amid the dreary news for fliers Delta managed to excel, according to WSJ airline and travel columnist Scott McCartney. 

2019 Airline Scorecard: WSJ rankings of major US carriers from best to worst in key categories
Delta 1 1 1 3 6 4 1 3
Alaska 2 2 4 1 5 6 5 2
Southwest 2 4 8 2 1 3 6 1
Allegiant 4 5 2 4 2 1 8 6
Spirit 5 3 6 5 4 5 4 9
JetBlue 6 8 3 9 7 7 3 4
Frontier 7 9 5 8 3 2 7 8
United 8 7 7 7 8 8 2 5
American 9 6 9 6 9 9 9 7

Southwest and Alaska tied for second overall in the latest Scorecard. Alaska has been first or second in the rankings since 2010. Southwest finished in third place the previous two years. 

At the other end of the spectrum was American, making it the third time in five years that American has earned the bottom spot in McCartney’s rankings.

The data showed a massive gulf between first-place Delta and last-place American in a number of categories.

Delta averaged just 36 cancellations in 2019, while American averaged 159.

On baggage, Delta averaged 1,345 late or lost jobs each day for the year, while American’s number was more than double that.

And in the realm of bumping ticketed passengers, the difference was overwhelming: Delta involuntarily bumped a total of nine passengers from its flights over the most recent 12-month reporting period, while American bumped more than 15,000.  

A Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 takes off in Atlanta with another Delta flight taking off in the background in a file photo. Delta came in first place in a 2019 scorecard of major US airlines based on several major operational categories

The rankings don’t include such things as opinions on seat comfort, customer service, ticket prices, or route convenience. 

The data comes from masFlight, the flight-data analytics unit of Global Eagle, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. In most categories it includes each airline’s regional partner flights. 

Data on two-hour tarmac delays and consumer complaints is from DOT, based on 12 months ended in October. DOT involuntary bumping is based on the 12 months ended September. DOT mishandled baggage is based on 10 months January to October 2019

On-time, canceled flights and extreme delays data for full year 2019 are from masFlight, and include regional affiliate flights and international.


Comments are closed.