A couple of you have wondered aloud about a possible explanation for Southwest Airlines’ 17th place finish for on-time arrivals in October, out of 18 U.S. airlines tracked.

A look at the numbers show that Southwest did poorly where you’d expect it to do poorly: New York LaGuardia, San Francisco, Boston and so forth.

More alarming is that Southwest didn’t seem to do particularly well in any of the big airports that DOT focuses on.

The DOT requires airlines to report their on-time performance at 31 big airports. Most also report at the other U.S. airports as well.

Out of those 31 airports, Southwest flies to 20 of them. Of the 20, its best performance in October was at Orlando, where 83 percent of flights arrived on time or within 14 minutes of schedule.

That “best-city” number is below the 83.6 percent average for all 18 U.S. airlines tracked at the 31 big airports or the 83.8 percent average at all U.S. airports.

Below, you can see Southwest’s performance at the 20 big airports. The DOT monthly report doesn’t give a carrier-by-carrier breakdown at other airports. We do note that the overall on-time numbers at Dallas Love Field, Southwest’s home, was 79.1 percent, compared to 89.5 percent at nearby Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.


Airport On-time Airport On-time
New York LaGuardia 58.8% Minneapolis-St. Paul 77.0%
San Francisco 62.7% Las Vegas 79.2%
Boston 68.8% Portland 79.7%
Washington Dulles 68.9% Chicago Midway 79.9%
Detroit 72.2% Fort Lauderdale 80.8%
Philadelphia 72.2% Baltimore 81.4%
Phoenix 73.5% Denver 81.8%
Los Angeles 73.9% Tampa 82.2%
San Diego 75.4% Seattle-Tacoma 82.8%
Salt Lake City 76.8% Orlando 83.0%

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