This Midwest Airport Had the Most On-Time Departures in 2023 (Apparently Snow Isn't an Issue!)

Consider these Airlines and locations before scheduling your next flight.
Updated June 6, 2024
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New year, new opportunities to embark on exciting journeys. As travel plans for 2024 take shape, the last thing anyone wants is to deal with the hassle of flight delays and cancellations. To help you make informed decisions, aviation analytics company Cirium recently released its On-Time Performance Review 2023, offering insights into the punctuality of airlines and airports. With over 15 years of data, Cirium's comprehensive report is a valuable resource for travelers.

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Top 10 airports for on-time departures

Among the impressive array of airports worldwide, the survey highlighted some that stood out for their remarkable on-time departure performance. Here are the top 10 airports in the United States that deserve a closer look before you book your next flight:

  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport  (84.44%): Despite harsh winter conditions, MSP claims the top spot. The airport's commitment to maintaining on-time departures is commendable, making it a reliable choice for travelers.
  2. Salt Lake City International Airport (83.99%): Utah's main airport demonstrates exceptional punctuality, ensuring a smooth travel experience for its passengers.
  3. Ronald Reagan National Airport (83.20%): Serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, this airport impresses with its efficient departure schedule.
  4. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (83.09%): As a major hub, Detroit Metro consistently delivers on-time departures, providing a stress-free start to your journey.
  5. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport  (82.97%): Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, SEA maintains a high standard for punctuality, making it a preferred departure point.
  6. Philadelphia International Airport  (82.75%): A key player on the East Coast, PHL is committed to ensuring passengers get on their way without unnecessary delays.
  7. LaGuardia Airport (81.34%): Despite being one of the busiest airports in the country, LaGuardia maintains a commendable record for timely departures.
  8. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (80.36%): As a major connecting hub, CLT is a reliable choice for travelers seeking efficient departures.
  9. San Diego International Airport (80.32%): The picturesque Californian airport combines efficiency with stunning views, ensuring a pleasant beginning to your journey.
  10. Washington Dulles International Airport (80.26%): Located in the D.C. metropolitan area, IAD rounds out the top 10 with its commitment to timely departures.

MSP: Defying the elements with top performance

What sets MSP apart, claiming the number one spot on the list is its ability to maintain punctuality despite challenging weather conditions. Known for its icy winters and heavy snowfall, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has implemented robust strategies to keep flights on schedule despite frequent wintery conditions. Regardless of adverse weather, the airport's commitment to excellence makes it a standout choice for travelers to fly and earn travel rewards.

Top 10 Airlines: Flying high in punctuality

Delta Air Lines again took the lead, with an impressive 84.72% of flights arriving on time in 2023. Here are the top 10 North American airlines with the best on-time performance.

  1. Delta: 84.72%
  2. Alaska Airlines: 82.25%
  3. American Airlines: 80.61%
  4. United Airlines: 80.04%
  5. Southwest Airlines: 76.26%
  6. Spirit Airlines: 71.16%
  7. WestJet: 69.29%
  8. Frontier Airlines: 68.68%
  9. JetBlue Airways: 68.33%
  10. Air Canada: 63.17%

It becomes interesting to analyze the "why" behind these rankings. Delta is the #1 on-time airline and they have two of their largest hubs in Minneapolis and Salt Lake City, which are the top two airports. The question remains whether Delta or the airports drive this more. 

What to consider before booking your next flight

As you plan ways to travel more, consider the on-time performance of both airlines and airports. Choosing an airline with a track record of punctuality and departing from airports renowned for efficiency can significantly enhance your overall travel experience. 

Cirium's On-Time Performance Review 2023 provides valuable insights to help you make informed decisions, ensuring a smoother journey from takeoff to landing. Connection airports are sometimes unavoidable and chosen by your carrier, but if possible, choosing an airport and airline with a history of being on time is an easy way to ensure smooth travels.

Bottom line

Traveling can be stressful, but choosing an airport and airline with reliable track records for being on time can help make it uneventful. Especially in the instance of connections, it's best to book with airlines and airports with proven histories of getting passengers where and when they need to go. Thinking through your next itinerary might help you a lot in making sure you aren't delayed or frustrated with your travel experience. 

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Georgina Tzanetos Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who has been active in financial media for the past six years. She holds a master's in political economy from NYU, where she studied distressed labor markets.