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March Airline On-Time Performance Down From Previous Year, Up from February

WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 77.6 percent in March, down from the 79.8 percent on-time rate posted in March 2013, but up from the 70.7 percent on-time rate posted in February 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.

Airlines also reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and one tarmac delay of more than four hours on an international flight.  

The consumer report also includes data on cancellations, chronically delayed flights, and the causes of flight delays filed with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the reporting carriers.  In addition, the consumer report contains information on passengers denied confirmed space (oversales/bumping) as filed with BTS by the carriers, mishandled baggage reports filed by consumers with the carriers and airline service complaints received by the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division.  The consumer report also includes reports of incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.

Cancellations

The reporting carriers canceled 1.9 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in March, up from the 1.6 percent cancellation rate posted in March 2013, but down from the 5.5 percent rate posted in February 2014.

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of March, there was one flight that was chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for four consecutive months.  There were an additional six regularly scheduled flights that were chronically delayed for three consecutive months, and an additional eight regularly scheduled flights that were chronically delayed for two consecutive months.  A list of flights that were chronically delayed for a single month is available from BTS.

Causes of Flight Delays

In March, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 5.70 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.92 percent in February; 8.09 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 9.09 percent in February; 6.11 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 6.78 percent in February; 0.39 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.74 percent in February; and 0.02 percent for security reasons, equal to 0.02 percent in February.

Weather is a factor in both the extreme-weather category and the aviation-system category.  This includes delays due to the re-routing of flights by DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration in consultation with the carriers involved.  Weather is also a factor in delays attributed to late-arriving aircraft, although airlines do not report specific causes in that category.

Data collected by BTS also shows the percentage of late flights delayed by weather, including those reported in either the category of extreme weather or included in National Aviation System delays.  In March, 24.72 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down from 34.12 percent in March 2013 and 32.73 percent in February.

Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available on the BTS website at http://www.bts.gov.

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.68 reports per 1,000 passengers in March, up from the March 2013 rate of 3.03, but down from the February 2014 rate of 4.21.  For the first quarter of this year, the carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 4.43 reports per 1,000 passengers, up from the 3.14 rate for the first quarter of 2013.

Bumping

The report also includes airline reports of involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, for the first quarter of this year.  The 14 U.S. carriers who report on-time performance and mishandled baggage data posted a bumping rate of 1.40 per 10,000 passengers for the quarter, up from the 1.04 rate reported for the first quarter of 2013.

Incidents Involving Pets

In March, carriers reported four incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets while traveling by air, up from the zero reports filed in both March 2013 and in February 2014.  March’s incidents involved the death of three pets and one injured pet.

Complaints About Airline Service

In March, the Department received 1,119 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 18.4 percent from the 945 complaints filed in March 2013, and down 4.4 percent from the 1,171 received in February 2014.  For the first quarter of this year, the Department received 4,004 complaints, up 24.4 percent from the 3,218 filed during the first quarter of 2013.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in March against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.  The Department received a total of 65 disability-related complaints in March, up from both the total of 42 complaints filed in March 2013 and the 33 complaints received in February 2014.  For the first quarter of this year, the Department received 173 disability-related complaints, up from the total of 139 filed during the first quarter of 2013.

Complaints About Discrimination

In March, the Department received four complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – down from both the total of seven recorded in March 2013 and the five recorded in February 2014.  For the first quarter of this year, the Department received 17 discrimination complaints, down from the total of 18 filed during the first quarter of 2013.

Consumers may file their complaints in writing with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, W96-432, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20590; by voice mail at (202) 366-2220 or by TTY at (202) 366-0511; or on the web at www.dot.gov/airconsumer.

Consumers who want on-time performance data for specific flights should call their airline’s reservation number or their travel agent.  This information is available on the computerized reservation systems used by these agents.  The information is also available on the appropriate carrier’s website.

The Air Travel Consumer Report is available in PDF format.

Facts
 

AIR TRAVEL CONSUMER REPORT
May 2014
KEY ON-TIME PERFORMANCE AND FLIGHT CANCELLATION STATISTICS
Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 14 Reporting Carriers and Tarmac Data Filed by All Carriers

Overall

     77.6 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 91.6 percent
  2. Alaska Airlines – 88.2 percent
  3. Virgin America – 86.4 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates 

  1. ExpressJet Airlines – 70.9 percent
  2. Southwest Airlines – 72.2 percent
  3. American Eagle Airlines – 73.4 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

*There were no domestic flights in March with tarmac delays exceeding three hours.

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

  1. British Airways flight 292 from Washington Dulles to London, 3/16/14 – delayed on tarmac 241 minutes

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. ExpressJet Airlines – 5.1 percent
  2. American Eagle Airlines – 4.1 percent
  3. SkyWest Airlines – 2.3 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.1 percent
  2. Frontier Airlines – 0.2 percent
  3. Delta Air Lines – 0.2 percent

-END-

DOT 42-14

Tuesday, May 13, 2014