JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) usually ranks near the top of airline customer satisfaction surveys. Its reputation suffered a hit as it took last place among the 12 large domestic ranked for on-time arrivals in December. Just over 74% of JetBlue flights hit the mark in December. Based on the reasons people make decisions about carriers, the rank may not be terribly important.
The data about the carriers was posted in The Air Travel Consumer Report issued by Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings. “On time arrival” is defined as “the percentage of completed flights that arrived at the gate on-time where on-time is defined as within (less than) 15 minutes of scheduled gate arrival time”.
United Continental (NYSE: UAL) finished first with an on-time arrival figure of 84.6%. Delta (NYSE: DAL) was second at 83.5%, followed by Alaska Air (NYSE: ALK) at 83.4%. It bought Virgin America in December 2016. Virgin America is still listed on its own by The Air Travel Consumer Report. it finished fourth at 82.5%.
Fifth place was taken by American Air (NYSE: AAL) at 82%.
Carrier on-time performance is often not the primary reason people pick one carrier over another. JetBlue is known for low-priced tickets and relatively good inflight service. The convenience of travel is also important. JetBlue routes are heavily along the East Coast, particularly from the Northeast into Florida. JetBlue also has a dominant presence into the Carribean It has a more modest presence on transcontinental routes, particularly in the highly competitive corridors from New York City to the San Francisco and LA areas. In some cases, JetBlue may be the only carrier with regular flights to smaller cities.
JetBlue’s overall service should also help the drag of poor on-time performance. In the carefully followed J.D. Power 2017 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, Jet Blue ranked second is the discount carrier category, just behind Southwest (NYSE: LUV)