First Free Story (1 of 3)

More travel executives get their mission-critical industry news from Skift than any other source on the planet.

Already a member?

Nearly one in four U.S. flights were late in August, and some planes sat on the ground so long that the airlines could get fined.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Friday that 77.6 percent of domestic flights arrived on time in August. That was down from 80.3 percent in the same month of 2015.

Hawaiian Airlines, helped by favorable weather, had the best on-time rate, while low-fare carriers Frontier and Spirit had the worst rates. Among the four biggest airlines, Delta narrowly beat Southwest for top honors, followed by United and American.

In 20 cases, planes holding passengers sat on the ground longer than federal rules allow — three hours for domestic flights, four for international ones. The Transportation Department said it was investigating the incidents.

At least 11 of those delayed flights were operated by American and five by United or United Express.

Those excessive on-ground delays have dropped sharply since federal rules allowed the department to fine the airlines.

Passengers lodged 1,602 complaints with the department against U.S. airlines in August, compared with 1,639 in August 2015.

August On-Time Performance for U.S. Airlines

RankAirlineOn-Time Percentage
1.Hawaiian Airlines92.6 percent
2.Alaska Airlines87.8 percent
3.SkyWest81.5 percent
4.Delta Air Lines79.9 percent
5.Southwest Airlines79.8 percent
6.United Airlines77.5 percent
7.Virgin America73.9 percent
8.ExpressJet73.7 percent
9.JetBlue Airways73.0 percent
10.American Airlines71.9 percent
11.Spirit Airlines71.8 percent
12.Frontier Airlines65.9 percent

Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Photo Credit: A press image of Hawaiian Airlines seating. In August, once again, the airline tops the monthly on-time ratings. Hawaiian Airlines