Delayed flight cost you that big deal, ruin your family get-together or just plain consume you with apoplectic rage?
Take a deep breath, count to 10, punch your travel pillow and then read on. Because here's news that could help prevent it ever happening again.
Travel analyst OAG has just revealed its Punctuality League for 2018, naming the airlines and airports with the world's best timekeeping.
And it's potentially good news for anyone flying via Tokyo (or looking for a cheap ticket to Latvia).
Drawing on full-year data from 57 million flight records in 2017 -- the most OAG has ever tracked in a single year -- the UK-based analyst has created a ranking of the best on-time performance for the world's largest airlines and airports.
Its definition of on-time performance, or OTP, is flights that arrive or depart within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of their scheduled times.
The most punctual airline in the world -- with 90.01% of flights on time -- is Latvian flag carrier airBaltic. Headquartered in Riga International Airport, airBaltic flies to 68 destinations in Europe, the US and the Middle East.
Most punctual airlines
1. airBaltic (90.01%). (Top Mainline Airline and Top Airline in Europe).
2. Hong Kong Airlines (88.83%). (Top Airline in Asia-Pacific).
3. Hawaiian Airlines (87.24%). (Top Airline in North America).
4. Copa Airways (86.39%). (Top Airline in Latin America).
5. Qantas Airways (86.18%).
6. Japan Airlines (85.27%). (Top Mega Airline).
7. Vueling Airlines (85.35%). (Top Low-Cost Carrier).
8. Jetstar Asia (85.08%).
9. Skymark Airlines (85.00%).
10. Aer Lingus (84.46%).
Qatar Airways, in 15th place with an OTP of 82.95%, is the Top Airline in the Middle East and Africa category.
OAG notes in its report that the gap is closing between the service offered by low-cost carriers and mainstream airlines.
"This year, six of the Top 20 airlines are LCCs, up from four last year and two in 2015," it says.
Most punctual airports
OAG ranked airports around the world with an annual minimum of 2.5 million departing seats. As with airlines, the higher the passenger traffic, the tougher the challenges, so OAG has broken down the rankings according to the size of the airport.
For the third year in a row, the most punctual mega airport (30 million+ seats) is Japan's Tokyo Haneda (86.75%).
The top major airport (20 - 30 million seats) is Minneapolis-Saint Paul (85.72%) while the top large airport (10 - 20 million seats) is Japan's Osaka Airport (88.45%).
The UK's Birmingham Airport is the top medium airport (5 - 10 million seats), with on-time performance of 89.52%.
Spain's Tenerife North is the top small airport (2.5 - 5 million seats), with 90.05% of flights arriving or departing on schedule.
Tenerife North "is the only airport in the world to achieve OTP of over 90% in 2017," notes OAG. Elsewhere in Spain, "Fuerteventura (FUE) has really climbed the rankings this year, making it into the Top 20 for the first time, as has Bilbao (BIO)."
For the first time, this year OAG has also released data on the on-time performance of the world's busiest international and domestic routes:
Busiest international routes:
1. Hong Kong to Taipei: 29,494 flights with an OTP of 70.92%.
2. Kuala Lumpur to Singapore: 29,383 flights with an OTP of 78.52%.
3. Jakarta to Singapore: 26,872 flights with an OTP of 77.38%.
Busiest domestic routes:
1. Jeju to Seoul Gimpa (South Korea): 64,991 flights with an OTP of 74.06%.
2. Melbourne to Sydney (Australia): 54,519 flights with an OTP of 74.10%.
3. Mumbai to Delhi (India): 47,462 flights with an OTP of 59.14%.
With record-breaking passenger volumes and ever-expanding flight networks, airlines and airports have faced a big challenge keeping everything on track in 2017.
Aside from maintaining impressive punctuality records, the aviation industry is also to be commended for what was the safest year in flying history.
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