It’s no secret that on-time performance has been a major problem for United for years. In this particular, Delta Airlines has excelled consistently over it’s two main competitors, United and American Airlines. And yet, there’s cause for hope if you fly United…OAG is an air travel intelligence company based in UK and provides real-time flight schedules, flight status data feeds and aviation analytics to airlines, airports, travel-related service companies, and government agencies. Each year they publish an airline punctuality report, 2016’s report being published a few weeks ago. This report showed that for the entirety of the year, United beat out American, with 80.01% of its flights arriving on time throughout 2016, compared to 78.99% the previous year.
Delta even dropped a few points from 84.46% in 2015 to 84.29% according to OAG’s 2015 punctuality report, whereas American dropped almost two points from 80.14% to 78.44%. This is a promising trend and one to follow as we move deeper into 2017. Out of the big 3, United was the only one to improve punctuality on 2016, according to OAG. This is especially significant, because back in September, when Oscar Munoz was hired as UA CEO after the Jeff Smisek ouster, he pledged to make improved timeliness one of his immediate priorities. A little over a year out and United has met -or exceeded, all things considered- the expectations set by its new CEO. This is indeed encouraging for us United flyers.
There have been, however, other decisions made by United that haven’t shown the same desire to please the core customer base – the new basic economy fare being an example. We’ll discuss more about that as these fares become available. But for the time being, let’s give out credit where credit is due. United is officially on the ‘on-time’ chase. Will they inch closer to Delta in 2017?