When people book flights, their decision is typically based on price and/or schedule. But a recent study found there may be another factor to consider if you want your travel day to run smoothly. Turns out, paying attention to the type of aircraft you will be flying on may save you from delays or cancellations. Some aircraft models are known to need repairs more often than others. Additionally, what may be a reliable aircraft for one airline, may be the worst option of another airline. This is due to different internal repair processes between different airlines. Of course, not all flight schedules include the type of aircraft. Some busier routes offer a variety of different flights and options. Travelers on these frequent routes can often see the type of aircraft when booking reservations.
Tips to choosing a reliable aircraft
- Boeing 737s are the top in reliability for most airlines. In this study, United 737s out performed United 757s in less delays or cancellations. United 737s arrived on time 82% compared to United 757s at only 70% on time.
- Most airlines are phasing out Boeing 747s by the end of this year, in an effort to improve overall reliability.
- Regional jets have a higher rate of delays and cancellations compared to larger jets. These smaller jets are often the first to be delayed or cancelled, allowing more customers to fly on the larger jets.
- Discount airlines often have weaker reliability than larger carriers. Fewer planes and busy schedules often mean there are less spare airplanes to replace an airplane needing repair. This leads to cancellations or long delays.
- Planes with fancy lie-down seats often have more frequent delays and cancellations. These seats come with complicated parts that take additional time to repair if they break. Luckily, these flights are typically just delayed, as the airlines cater to these top-dollar customers.
- Delta’s best performing aircraft is their MD-88 jets, though they are on average 26 years old. They have a cancellation rate of only 0.6% and an on-time arrival rate of 82.8%. This is an example of differences between airlines. Though the MD-88s work best for Delta, they are one of the worst performers for American Airlines. It has a cancellation rate four times higher than Delta, and arrived on time to only 69.1% of their flights.
- Use the chart in the image above the article to find the most reliable aircraft by airline, from best to worst.
If you are a frequent business traveler, delays or cancellations can really screw with your itinerary. Try choosing your next flight based on a reliable aircraft. Let us know if the tip helped your travels by commenting on our Facebook or Twitter pages.