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Air Travel Consumer Report: December 2019, Full Year 2019 Numbers

Monday, February 24, 2020

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today released its February 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of December 2019 and calendar year 2019. The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.

2019 On-Time Performance

For the full year 2019, marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 79.0%, a slightly lower rate than 79.2% in 2018.

Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates January-December 2019 (ATCR Table 1B)

  1. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 87.7%
  2. Delta Air Lines Network – 83.5%
  3. Alaska Airlines Network – 81.3%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates January-December 2019 (ATCR Table 1B)

  1. Frontier Airlines – 73.1%
  2. JetBlue Airways – 73.5%
  3. United Airlines Network – 75.2%

December On-Time Performance

In December 2019, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 78.2%, down from both the 84.4% on-time rate in November 2019 and 80.0% in December 2018.

 

Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates December 2019 (ATCR Table 1)

  1. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 87.6%
  2. Delta Air Lines Network – 83.0%
  3. Spirit Airlines – 81.2%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates December 2019 (ATCR Table 1)

  1. JetBlue Airways – 66.7%
  2. Allegiant Airlines – 73.6%
  3. Alaska Airlines Network – 74.2%

2019 Cancellations

For the full year 2019, marketing carriers canceled 1.9% of their scheduled domestic flights, compared to a rate of 1.7% in 2018.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights January-December 2019 (ATCR Table 6)

  1. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 0.4%
  2. Allegiant Airlines – 0.6%
  3. Delta Air Lines Network – 0.7%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights January-December 2019 (ATCR Table 6)

  1. American Airlines Network – 2.5%
  2. Southwest Airlines – 2.5%
  3. United Airlines Network – 2.4%

December Cancellations

In December 2019, reporting marketing carriers canceled 1.1% of their scheduled domestic flights, a higher rate than 0.8% in November 2019 but slightly lower than 1.2% in December 2018.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights December 2019 (ATCR Table 6)

  1. Spirit Airlines – 0.6%
  2. Delta Air Lines Network – 0.6%
  3. JetBlue Airways – 0.7%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights December 2019 (ATCR Table 6)

  1. Alaska Airlines Network – 1.9%
  2. United Airlines Network – 1.6%
  3. Frontier Airlines – 1.1%

Tarmac Delays

In 2019, airlines reported 302 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, an increase from the 202 such tarmac delays reported in 2018.  In 2019, airlines reported 26 tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to 61 such tarmac delays reported in 2018.

In December 2019, airlines reported 24 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, more than the five such tarmac delays reported in November 2019 and more than the 19 domestic flight tarmac delays reported in December 2018.  In December 2019, airlines reported four tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to no such tarmac delays reported in November 2019 and no international flight tarmac delays reported in December 2018.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

December Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours (ATCR Table 8)

  1. United Airlines flight 2304 from Newark, N.J. (EWR) to San Diego, Calif. (SAN) 12/18/19 – delayed 4 hours and 7 minutes on the tarmac at Newark
  2. Delta Air Lines flight 667 from New York JFK (JFK), to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (FLL) 12/2/19 – delayed 3 hours and 52 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
  3. Delta Air Lines flight 2509 from New York JFK (JFK), to San Francisco (SFOS) 12/2/19 – delayed 3 hours and 42 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK

December International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours (ATCR Table 8A)

  1. United Airlines flight 19 from Newark, N.J. (EWR) to Milan, Italy (MXP) 12/18/19 – delayed 5 hours and 32 minutes on the tarmac at Newark
  2. United Airlines flight 110 from Newark, N.J. (EWR) to London, United Kingdom (LHR) 12/18/19 – delayed 4 hours and 54 minutes on the tarmac at Newark
  3. United Airlines flight 14 from Newark, N.J. (EWR) to London, United Kingdom (LHR) 12/18/19 – delayed 4 hours and 18 minutes on the tarmac at Newark

Mishandled Baggage

In calendar year 2019, the reporting marketing carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 5.85 mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags.  Carriers did not report mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags in previous years.

In December 2019, the reporting marketing carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 6.61 mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags, a higher rate than the November 2019 rate of 4.68 per 1,000 checked bags. 

See the February 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for mishandled baggage numbers by airline.

Mishandled Wheelchairs and Scooters

In calendar year 2019, reporting marketing airlines reported checking 685,792 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 10,548, a rate of 1.54% mishandled. In December 2018, DOT reported mishandled wheelchairs and scooters data for carriers for the first time.

In December 2019, reporting marketing airlines reported checking 65,345 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 1,001, a rate of 1.53% mishandled, compared to the rate of 1.42% mishandled in November 2019.

See the February 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for mishandled wheelchair and scooter numbers by airline.

Bumping/Oversales

Bumping/oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly.  For the full year 2019, the marketing carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.24 per 10,000 passengers compared to a rate of 0.14 per 10,000 passengers in 2018. 

For the fourth quarter of 2019, the 10 U.S. marketing carriers posted an involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, rate of 0.16 per 10,000 passengers, down from both the marketing carrier rate of 0.19 for the third quarter of 2019 and the rate of 0.19 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

See the February 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for denied boarding numbers by airline.

Incidents Involving Animals

In 2019, carriers reported 11 animal deaths, injuries to eight other animals, and zero lost animals, for a total of 19 incidents, up from the 17 total incident reports filed for calendar year 2018.  In 2019, 404,556 animals were transported by airlines, for a rate of 0.47 incidents per 10,000 animals transported.  In 2018, 424,621 animals were transported, for a rate of 0.40 incidents per 10,000 animals transported.

In December, carriers reported two incidents involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, equal to the two reports filed in both December 2018 and in November 2019.  December’s incidents involved the death of one animal and injury to one other animal. 

Complaints About Airline Service

In 2019, the Department received 15,332 complaints, down 1.4 percent from the total of 15,544 received in 2018.  In December 2019, DOT received 1,242 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 23.7 percent from the total of 1,004 filed in December 2018 and up 32.0 percent from the 941 received in November 2019.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

In 2019, the Department received 905 disability complaints, up 9.4 percent from the total of 827 received in 2018.  The Department received a total of 68 disability-related complaints in December 2019, down from the 92 complaints received in December 2018, but up from the 66 complaints received in November 2019.  All complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability are investigated.

Complaints About Discrimination

In 2019, the Department received 106 discrimination complaints – 66 complaints regarding race, four complaints regarding ancestry/ethnicity, 13 complaints regarding national origin, eight complaints regarding color, six complaints regarding religion, six complaints regarding sex, and three complaints categorized as “other.”  This is an increase of 9.3 percent from the total of 97 filed in 2018. 

In December 2019, the Department received nine complaints alleging discrimination – eight regarding race and one regarding religion.  This is an increase from the total of four discrimination complaints recorded in December 2018 and the six recorded in November 2019. 

All complaints alleging discrimination are investigated to determine if there has been a violation(s) of the passenger’s civil rights.

Consumers may file air travel consumer or civil rights complaints online at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm.  They may also mail a complaint to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, W96-432, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590. 

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.

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