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American’s Cancel-Free Mainline Holiday Operation

In contrast to some of its peers, the Fort Worth-based carrier did not cancel any flights from December 20-25.

An American 777-300ER at DFW (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Despite weather events at some of its hubs, American managed through the peak holiday travel period from December 20-25 with zero mainline flight cancellations. According to data from Flightaware, the Fort Worth-based carrier scheduled 18,210 mainline flights during this period.

Zero cancellations is a far cry from last year’s lackluster holiday operation as U.S. airlines were pelted with winter weather events across the country. During the same date range in 2022, American canceled nearly 5% of its 17,542 flights.

This year, American outpaced its competitors on the cancellation front. FlightAware’s data shows that Delta canceled 25 mainline flights and United with 54 during the same period. Southwest had, by far, the most cancellations of any U.S. airline with 569, or 2.2% of its schedule. As of December 26, Southwest’s operation has largely improved and a spokesperson from the carrier said it is “currently healthy and stable.”

No other major U.S. carrier reported zero cancellations during this date range. Together, U.S.-based airlines canceled less than 1% of their scheduled flights, a significant improvement from 2022’s 12%, all while scheduling roughly 7.5% more flights year-over-year.

Regional Operators Fell Short

While American didn’t cancel any flights within its mainline operation, the airline’s regional flights suffered a bit. Out of the company’s three wholly-owned regional subsidiaries – Envoy, Piedmont, and PSA – Envoy canceled 12 flights, which the airline attributed to weather.

Piedmont and PSA also canceled zero flights. Air Wisconsin, which operates American Eagle regional flights from the airline’s Chicago O’Hare hub, canceled two.

Skywest operates regional flights for American, United, Delta, and Alaska. FlightAware shows that it canceled 153 flights across its operation.

Some Delays

Despite its lack of cancellations, American had the highest delayed arrival rate after Delta and United at 17.1%. Just over 3,100 of the carrier’s mainline flights arrived late, according to the flight tracking data. The airline said its on-time arrivals rate is up nearly 18% from the same period last year.

Although most airlines saw double-digit figures in the delayed arrivals category, Delta came out on top with only 9% of the airline’s 17,362 scheduled flights arriving behind schedule. Spirit, JetBlue, and Southwest had over a quarter of their flights arrive late.

American’s streak didn’t last through Tuesday, December 26, though, as FlightAware shows one mainline cancellation.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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