Despite a well-publicized breakdown that grounded thousands of flights on Monday and Tuesday, Delta Air Lines actually has a good track record when it comes to delays and cancellations.
According to government data, Delta is the least likely of the four biggest U.S. airlines to leave customers stranded or inconvenienced by late flights. Delta flights have been on time for 85 percent of flights over the last five years — at least 6 percentage points better than American Airlines, United or Southwest.
In the first five months of the year, Delta managed to operate more than 50,000 flights each month while on average canceling fewer than 300 and delaying less than 7,000 monthly. Over the last two days, however, the company has been forced to cancel at least 1,300 flights.
The mass delays and cancellations were caused by a power outage at the company's Atlanta headquarters and a breakdown of critical network equipment that failed to switch to a backup system. The event is going to put a nasty dent in the company's otherwise impressive statistics.