US Flight Cancellations Hit a 10-Year Low in 2023

It’s not your imagination — 2023 was the best year in a decade for actually boarding your flight.

Photo of people boarding an airplane flight
Photo by Chris Brignola via Unsplash

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This may not be the golden age of commercial aviation, but at least your flight isn’t getting canceled as much. 

Domestic US flight cancellations fell to their lowest level in at least 10 years in 2023, according to Department of Transportation data.

There is a Wait So Long

There’s nothing worse than arriving at the airport two hours early, slogging through security, and desperately trying to find an outlet near your gate so you can charge your dying phone only to hear your flight has been delayed or, worse, canceled. Thankfully, that wasn’t much of a problem in 2023:  

  • Out of 16.3 million flights in the US last year, the total cancellation rate was less than 1.2%, DOT data showed. That’s a stark difference from 2022, which had the second-highest cancellation rate at 2.3%. The highest cancellation in the past 10 years was 2014 with a rate of 2.4% 
  • There are a few factors at play: This past holiday season avoided any major weather events, unlike in 2022 when a blizzard canceled a whopping 8.2% of flights. Plus, many major airlines went on hiring sprees after thousands of employees left the business or were let go during the pandemic.

The Price is Right: There’s some even more good news on the air travel horizon. Lindsay Schwimer of Hopper Consumer Travel told Yahoo! Finance that she expects flights to be cheaper in 2024. “Airfare prices in the first six months of the year are projected to be lower than what we saw in 2023,” she said. “So if you are booking a trip, both domestically and internationally, you’re going to see some relief when you’re booking those tickets.” Those people who choose to recline their seats are unfortunately still unavoidable.