Dallas — If you get on a Spirit Airlines flight, there’s a 50-50 chance that your flight will be late.
Perhaps then it is no surprise that Spirit has the highest complaint rate of any major U.S. airline.
Spirit, a low-fare carrier with a clientele of mostly leisure travelers, had by far the worst on-time performance in June among 14 airlines tracked in a government report. Only 49.9 percent of its flights arrived within 15 minutes of schedule, which is the government’s definition of being on time.
United Airlines had the second-worst rating, at 66.3 percent on time.
Neither Spirit nor United immediately responded to requests for comment.
Overall, airlines covered by the U.S. Department of Transportation report operated 74.8 percent of their flights on time in June, up from 71.8 percent in June 2014.
Hawaiian Airlines, which benefits from many short flights in mostly good weather, finished on top, with 90.5 percent of its flights landing on time, followed by Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Virgin America, all three of which beat 80 percent.
Spirit performed poorly at nearly all airports it serves but was worst in Philadelphia, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and Detroit, where on-time percentages were in the 30s. About two in three flights were late. Nearly one-fourth of Spirit’s flights were late at least 70 percent of the time in June.
On six routes, the Spirit delays averaged more than two hours.
According to the government, 284 passengers filed complaints about Spirit. That’s small compared with the number of passengers — about one in 5,200. But the Miramar, Florida-based company had by far the highest complaint rate of the 14 airlines covered in the report.
Spirit passengers were 43 times more likely to file a complaint than passengers on Alaska Airlines, which had the lowest complaint rate.
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