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Ranking names Delta the best U.S. airline of 2019, American comes in last

The annual ranking from the Wall Street Journal placed Delta in first place for the third year in a row.
FIE - In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo a ramp worker guides a Delta Air Lines plane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. Delta Air Lines says it earned $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter by operating more flights and filling a higher percentage of seats.  The financial results beat Wall Street expectations. Delta and other U.S. airlines are enjoying a prolonged period of profitability thanks to steadily rising demand for travel.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) [TED S. WARREN  |  AP]
FIE - In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo a ramp worker guides a Delta Air Lines plane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. Delta Air Lines says it earned $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter by operating more flights and filling a higher percentage of seats. The financial results beat Wall Street expectations. Delta and other U.S. airlines are enjoying a prolonged period of profitability thanks to steadily rising demand for travel. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) [TED S. WARREN | AP]
Published Jan. 20
Updated Jan. 21

Delta Airlines topped the Wall Street Journal’s annual rankings of major U.S. airlines for the third year in a row, leading in both on-time arrivals and canceled flights.

The 2019 list ranked airlines based on delays, mishandled luggage, involuntary bumping of passengers, complaints and the number of on-time and canceled flights.

American Airlines finished last in the rankings, just below Frontier and United. The Texas-based airline is the only airline of the nine that were ranked to not finish in the top five in any category.

The rankings from the Wall Street Journal. [Wall Street Journal]

The report said that Southwest had the least complaints, but also had the second-most canceled flights. Delta and Alaska Airlines ranked in the top six for all categories.

The Journal reported that flight cancellations, long delays and customer complaints were up for everyone.

The contrast between the top and the bottom was stark, however. Delta averaged just 36 flight cancellations a day in 2019 while American averaged 159, the report said. It was a similar contrast for the number of passengers removed from flights — with Delta bumping a total of nine passengers all last year while American bumped more than 15,000.

Of the nine airlines ranked, all operate out of Tampa International Airport except for Allegiant Airlines. Southwest has the most daily flights out of the airport with an average of 121, followed by Delta and American.

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