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Summer On-Time Report Card: Delta Recovers, United Improves, American Falters

The big three U.S. airlines produced markedly dissimilar operational performances during the summer travel season that unofficially ended Monday.

American (AAL) suffered a difficult summer, which President Robert Isom acknowledged in a letter to employees last week. United (UAL) had a good summer, which it extolled on Friday. Delta (DAL) , which suffered a three-day operational breakdown due to an early August computer outage, recovered rapidly.

Surprisingly, according to statistics released Tuesday by FlightStats, Delta had a better on-time performance record in August than either American or United, even though its operations were in turmoil from Monday, Aug. 8 through Wednesday, Aug. 10.

"The irony of the post-meltdown stats is that Delta was so far ahead of...