The Cities, Airlines And Flight Times Most Likely To Leave You Stranded

10 daily has trawled through wads of government aviation data to provide this flying report card. You're welcome.

October was a bad month for travellers who hate being tardy. November figures aren't out yet, but given the airport chaos this week, they're expected to also be poor.

Last month, airlines averaged 76.9 percent for on time arrivals and 78.3 percent for on time departures. Less than 2 percent of flights were cancelled.

That's according to figures collected by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) , which looks at Qantas, Virgin, Tigerair,  QantasLink, Regional Express, and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines domestic flights.

"In context and in terms of cancellations we are doing okay," Angus Kidman from comparison website Finder told 10 daily.

"But what you do get is a lot of delays and the figures under-represent just how many delays there are, because there is a window airlines have before they are deemed late."

IMAGE: Getty Images

October's on time arrivals figure was lower than the long-term average performance for all routes (82.6 percent) and the on time departures figure was also lower than the long-term average (83.9).

Qantas was the most reliable and Tigerair was the least reliable.

"Qantas and Virgin always fight it out for the top spot and Jetstar and Tiger fight it out for bottom place," Kidman said.

Jetstar cancelled the most flights -- and overall, the Melbourne-Sydney route was most likely to be cancelled.

Sydney to Melbourne is a "problematic route", Kidman said, partly because it's so popular and partly due to limitations set by Sydney airport's curfew.

Figures from 2017 show that Hobart Airport lets its passengers down the most, with 27 percent of flights delayed in the past calendar year.

"It's tougher in smaller airports -- for example, if an air traffic controller calls in sick there are less back up options and there are flow on effects," Kidman said.

In the past financial year, QantasLink was the best performing regional airline for on time arrivals. Virgin Australia Regional Airlines had the highest percentage of cancellations.

And there are certain months of the year when you're more likely to have your flight cancelled.

Sometimes, it simply comes down to weather patterns.

"I would never book a flight to Canberra because of how frequent fog is a problem, that's my personal preference," Kidman said.

Figures over a five-year period show that flight cancellations in peak in February.

According to Airline Customer Advocate (ACA), almost a third of complaints in 2017 related to late or cancelled flights.

ACA figures revealed Tigerair had the highest rate of complaints, with an average of two complaints for every 100,000 passengers. The low-cost carrier has been the most complained about airline for six consecutive years.

So how do you avoid a cancellation if you have an important event or meeting to attend?

"If you're concerned about cancellations then pick an airline that goes multiple times a day to your destination," Kidman advised.

Passengers should also temper expectations, and ensure they are in line with what they paid.

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"If I paid $30 for a flight I know what I paid for. My expectations are higher for Virgin and Qantas," Kidman said.

Other advice includes arriving at the airport early to avoid queues, and choosing a flight earlier in the day so you have more options if your flight gets cancelled.

"It could be worth paying more for flexible options, for example if you have a funeral and need to change flights on the day to make it there, then that's worthwhile."

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au

Featured image: Getty images