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Advice on American Airline Carriers

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
96 posts
5 reviews
Advice on American Airline Carriers

Hi all, I have heard many reports about American airlines (all airlines, not AA) being constantly late, and expecting long waits at the airport. Just wanted to know the usual delay time, and how often this actually occurs? Constantly or ocassionally. As we are on our holiday, I am obviously concerned with being stranded over night, and missing the opportunity to have extra days in cities etc.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
8,590 posts
49 reviews
1. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

All large airlines will have delays here or there, it's the law of averages when you operate thousands of flights a day through the world's busiest airports and airspace but to say "constant delays" or plan for a "usual delay" seems very extreme to OCD levels.

Romford, United...
Level Contributor
2,065 posts
22 reviews
2. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

What is your definition of constantly late? when you consider the amount of daily movements within the US I am certain that the percentage is very very small and some airlines are worse than others and some airports are worse than others,you have not mentioned where you wish to travel from/to so suggest you look at airlinequality for latest passenger reviews of the airlines/airports

South Jersey
Level Contributor
2,242 posts
64 reviews
3. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

The wait time at JFK at noon on July 3rd will a lot different from the wait time at 6:00AM at Key West and you are not giving any specific information about your flight.

Edited: 1:06 pm, June 25, 2013
East Sussex, United...
Level Contributor
4,605 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

Thats an impossible question to answer with so many factors at play. Weather being one of the major ones, and whilst it is possible to predict that to an extent, it will always still have an impact on flight schedules and routings.

Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
14,902 posts
24 reviews
5. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

I've taken a number of flights to/from the US as well as internal flights within the US - the vast majority departed/arrived on time +/- a few minutes.

It's more likely that the airports you are using will be relevant than the specific carrier.

Destination Expert
for Livigno, Lombardy
Level Contributor
39,467 posts
178 reviews
6. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

Flight delays can happen with any airline, just book and don't worry about it.

Destination Expert
for Livigno, Lombardy
Level Contributor
39,467 posts
178 reviews
7. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

However, if you want to check out reviews of the individual airlines check out the www.airlinequality.com website.

Level Contributor
49,574 posts
93 reviews
8. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

have heard many reports about American airlines (all airlines, not AA) being constantly late, and expecting long waits at the airport.


I dont know where you have "heard" these reports, but bear in mind that if someones flight is late, they are far more inclined to write a whiny post about it than if its on time. Probably by a factor of 1000 or something. You dont see many people writing "flew with blah blah yesterday and it was totally non eventful, landed on time, got my baggage" do you :-)

Bear also in mind that many people take no account of conditions, for example the other day someone was whining here because their Spirit Airlines flight was delayed and there were lots of people queuing at the ticket desk to get reassigned onto other flights and they were moaning about all that. Well, it so happened that day that there were massive storms, airports were shut for a couple of hours, planes diverted, so delays and long queues are what happens then. But they didnt mention that, read it alone and you'd think Spirit was the only airline with delays or queses and pretty much had created the delays out of spite to annoy him.

Lastly, assuming you are traveling round the USA, whats your alternative plan? Walking probably isnt practical, driving is likely to be not practical either. You CAN help yourself, try to take direct flights, not connections (not always possible with the hub and spoke arrangement of many carriers), dont have connections with very short connection times, and do not book the last flight into or out of a city on the day, as that severely restricts your options should a delay or cancel occur.If you booked the last flight out of Albuquerque and its cancelled for any reason and you are stuck there, in my book, thats on you, give yourself a chance.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
9,531 posts
96 reviews
9. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

As others have posted, it is hard to generalize. Most of the time your flight is on time, but you can have delays like anywhere. As for security lines, if you are at a major airport at a busy time, yes, they are long, but no more so than major airports like London or Frankfurt that I have been to.

Morning flights are usually more reliable than afternoon and evening as, when there are weather delays, they stack up through the day. If you're worried about being stuck overnight, just book flights earlier in the day. If you've got a late flight and there's a delay, that's when you get stuck overnight.

I would not stress about it too much, though. I fly a dozen times a year for work and vacation, many of which are USA internal flights, and in 20+ years have been delayed overnight twice.

For waits at airports for domestic flights, if you're not checking bags, 60 minutes is enough and if you are checking bags 90 minutes is enough. If you get to any US airport 2hrs ahead of time that is more than enough.

The really long waits in the US are for immigration into the country. Allow a few hours for that if you have a connecting flight to catch.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
41,743 posts
108 reviews
10. Re: Advice on American Airline Carriers

I don't find constant delays when I travel in the US. Sometimes it happens due to weather and congestion. Once the backup starts (regardless of the reason), the ripple effect lasts for the whole day. It could impact other unrelated flights as well if the delays occur at a hub airport.