Austin's Best (and worst) Airlines

After collecting data for over a year, who are the most (and least) reliable airlines at AUS?

After The Points Guy released his best airline rankings, I was interested in what my rankings would be here in Austin. Included in his lengthy methodology are perks like lounges and credit cards which really don’t matter much to me. What matters to me, especially when traveling domestic, is reliability.


  • I only included the 10 main US airlines The Points Guy considered
  • All flight stats were collected from June 1st, 2023 to June 1st, 2024
  • Flight score is the weighted average performance:
    • 1.0 for on-time (< 10 minutes late)
    • 0.8 for late (10 to 60 minutes late)
    • 0.5 for very late (60 to 120 minutes late)
    • 0.2 for excessively late (> 120 minutes late)
    • 0.0 for cancelled

1. Delta Airlines

Delta flight network map Delta’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.921
  • Flights tracked: 24,919
  • On-time: 78.1%
  • Cancelled: 0.6%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #1

Delta has increased its presence at AUS over the last year. Offering a few new destinations and supposedly calling Austin a “focus city”, whatever that means. Delta offered the third most flights over the past year of any AUS airline.

Delta’s marketing has clearly made reliability a focus for the airline, but clearly it isn’t just marketing. Considering their network size and the fact they include JFK in their network which had many problems last summer outside of the airline’s control, Delta had the best reliability of any US airline at AUS. It had the best on-time performance and 2nd-best cancellation rate.

2. Alaska Airlines

Alaska flight network map Alaska’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.918
  • Flights tracked: 6,759
  • On-time: 76.1%
  • Cancelled: 1.9%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #2

The primarily Seattle-based airline’s route network is considerably smaller than many others on this list. Only offering flights to Seattle, Portland, the SF Bay Area, and San Diego. Alaska has a very solid on-time performance but coupled with a relatively high cancellation rate. However, you aren’t stranded with Alaska as they somewhat recently joined the OneWorld codeshare alliance. Which allows them to rebook you much more easily on other airlines such as American, if your flight is cancelled.

Alaska is pretty clearly a solid option if you’re heading to any of the states along the Pacific.

3. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian flight network map Hawaiian’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.916
  • Flights tracked: 332
  • On-time: 73.5%
  • Cancelled: 0.6%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #7

Hawaiian Airlines only has one destination from Austin, Honolulu, which it serves only every other day on average. So, clearly not necessarily a fair comparison to the other airlines on this list. However, I was impressed by this 8.5 hour flight being on-time as frequent as it is. Other transatlantic routes out of Austin are some of the most frequently cancelled flights and are pretty frequently late. I took this flight a few years back and was pretty impressed. Coming in with the lowest cancellation rate in AUS, it makes it that much easier to get to a gorgeous destination when you’re expecting to.

This is where I first differ from The Points Guy, who dings them for the lack of destinations, which is understandable until you realize you’re complaining about a network that always ends up in Hawaii.

4. Allegiant Air

Hawaiian flight network map Allegiant’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.911
  • Flights tracked: 2,465
  • On-time: 75.8%
  • Cancelled: 0.6%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #8

Allegiant is an ultra-low-cost carrier that has a ton of destinations it serves only a few times a week. It, along with Frontier, is based out of the South Terminal (for the time being). It also started basing crews out of Austin back in 2021.

The ultra-low-cost carrier(ULCC) business model has really been viewed as anti-consumer, and The Points Guy dings them for this. However, Allegiant was also praised for their best nation-wide reliability. Allegiant offers pretty affordable fares, but also doesn’t allow for more complex bookings like connecting flights. This likely contributes to more streamlined operations and a pretty reliable airline. Other ULCCs like Spirit and Frontier lag way behind Allegaint’s lead.

5. United Airlines

United flight network map United’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.910
  • Flights tracked: 21,098
  • On-time: 75.6%
  • Cancelled: 2.0%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #3

United only offers frequent flights to all of their main US hubs out of AUS. United’s route network couldn’t be more stark of a difference to Allegiant’s: who offers low-frequency routes to smaller tourist-y airports.

With a pretty respectable on-time rate but high cancellation rate, 2 out of every 100 flights being cancelled is fairly high but as they offer multiple flights a day to their hubs, you likely won’t have to be waiting around long before you’re rebooked. United was hit particularly hard last summer with cancellations out of its Newark and Chicago hub, mainly due to air traffic control staffing shortages, which are expected to repeat again this summer.

6. Southwest Airlines

Southwest flight network map Southwest’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.908
  • Flights tracked: 77,565
  • On-time: 67.6%
  • Cancelled: 0.6%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #5

Southwest is the biggest carrier out of Austin and has been for quite some time. It offers an often-varying list of destinations including some international destinations. Southwest definitely has a cult-like following, especially here in Texas. The lack of checked bag fees and lack of assigned seating (I don’t get it) is attractive.

The low cancellation rate with a low on-time performance is likely by design. As much of America learned two winters ago, Southwest really has no backup plan if you’re stranded somewhere. Southwest has no way to book you on a different airline as well. This causes them to really resist cancelling flights that are several hours late as it causes a cascading issues throughout their point-to-point network. It’s really the first airline on this list I try to go out of my way to avoid flying. Oh, and they’re finally on flight search tools like Google Flights after decades of resisting it.

7. American Airlines

American flight network map American’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.905
  • Flights tracked: 46,357
  • On-time: 74.5%
  • Cancelled: 0.8%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #4

American offers a pretty interesting array of destinations from its main hub airports, to the mountains of Colorado, and international beach destinations. In November, American cut 21 flights from AUS. Though, these cuts didn’t really save the airlines relatively poor performance record at AUS.

American offered the second-most flights in the past year. This makes American, like Southwest, pretty hard to avoid flying on out of AUS. American ends the past year with a slightly high cancellation rate and average on-time performance.

8. Spirit Airlines

Spirit flight network map Spirit’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.881
  • Flights tracked: 3,562
  • On-time: 69.7%
  • Cancelled: 1.4%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #9

Spirit, like Allegiant and Frontier, is another staple ultra-low-cost carrier. Spirit flies more flights than Allegiant, but to way fewer destinations. I don’t really know what to say other than to avoid flying on Spirit when other options are available. The airline has quite low reliability and doesn’t have the backing of an alliance to rebook you. We really are in a whole new tier of airlines to avoid.

9. Frontier Airlines

Frontier flight network map Frontier’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.868
  • Flights tracked: 718
  • On-time: 65.2%
  • Cancelled: 2.8%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #10

Frontier’s small network out of AUS, coupled with terrible performance really should dissuade you from wanting to book your next family trip with them. Don’t forget, they also fly out of the South Terminal. The fact they allow you to book connecting itineraries is a sick joke.

10. JetBlue Airways

Frontier flight network map Frontier’s Current Flight Network from AUS


  • Flight Score 0.855
  • Flights tracked: 2,376
  • On-time: 60.3%
  • Cancelled: 1.1%
  • The Points Guy Ranking: #6

I was most surprised by JetBlue. It has a decent reputation and a similar cult-like following to Southwest but awful performance to it’s two east coast destinations. I thought it was hit hard as well by the east coast delays of last summer, but it never really recovered and performance stayed low through the fall and winter.

Full Rankings and Interactive

Here’s a link to my full rankings notebook along with a special bonus table of reliability by airports that serve AUS!

Written on June 20, 2024