America's Best and Worst Airlines 2009

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Justin Sinclair

When it comes to on-time arrivals, not all airlines are created equal. Sure, sometimes it depends what airports they fly into: after all, regulars at LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark have to deal with a lot more congestion than airlines flying into, say, Phoenix. But sometimes the arrival record is also a function of the airline itself.
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Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

Arriving on time is important for all sorts of reasons: making a connection; attending a big meeting; or even just starting your vacation on the right foot.

And when it comes to on-time arrivals, not all airlines are created equal. Sure, sometimes it depends what airports they fly into: after all, regulars at LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark have to deal with a lot more congestion than airlines flying into, say, Phoenix. But sometimes the arrival record is also a function of the airline itself.

So as we do each year, Travel + Leisure went to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which tracks the percentage of on-time arrivals for 19 airlines. We looked at the period from February 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009.

So which airlines were the big winners? And on which are you more likely to experience delays? Read on to find out.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance: 70.7%

Here's the good news: the worst on-time arrival rate in 2008 was 68% (American Airlines), so even the last-place airline is getting better. The bad news: even though this Delta Connection Carrier improved its score year over year, it still finished last.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance: 73.4%

American came in last place in 2008, but even its strong move from 68% only bumped it up one spot in our list.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance: 74.1%

This regional airline edged up 2 percentage points in on-time arrival, but still dropped two spots on the overall ranking.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance: 74.5%

JetBlue didn't appear in the bottom five spots in 2008, but even though its percentage of on-time arrivals increased in 2009 (up from 72.6%) it dropped from the #14 spot.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance: 74.9%

Mesa increased its on-time arrivals, but other airlines did it better: Mesa still dropped from the #13 spot.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance: 75%

In 2008, United came in as the second-worst airline for on-time performance, so it's promising to see it has moved a full 6 percentage points higher and out of the bottom 5 spots.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance: 75.3%

In 2008, Continental was squarely in the middle of the pack-it was the #10 airline, with 74.5% of its flights arriving on time%#151;so it's lost a little steam.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance: 75.5%

ExpressJet operates as Continental Express, and in terms of on-time arrivals is in the same league as Continental. Last year, ExpressJet's 73.7% gave it a #11 ranking.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

On-time performance:M 76.1%

American Eagle made a strong move in 2009. Last year the airline was #4 on the worst carriers for on-time performance with 71%. This year it's moved out of the bottom 5 and solidly into the middle of the pack.

Americas Best and Worst Airlines 2009

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