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April Airline On-Time Performance Up, Cancellations Down From Previous Year, March

WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 79.6 percent in April, up from both the 77.3 percent on-time rate posted in April 2013 and the 77.6 percent on-time rate posted in March 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.

In addition, the reporting carriers canceled 1.1 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in April, down from both the 1.8 percent cancellation rate posted in April 2013 and the 1.9 percent rate posted in March 2014. 

The consumer report also includes data on tarmac delays, 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 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.

Tarmac Delays

In April, airlines 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.

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of April, there was one flight that was chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for two consecutive months.  There were no chronically delayed flights for three consecutive months or more.  A list of flights that were chronically delayed for a single month is available from BTS.

Causes of Flight Delays

In April, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 5.75 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 5.70 in March; 7.47 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 8.09 percent in March; 5.34 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 6.11 percent in March; 0.40 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.39 percent in March; and 0.02 percent for security reasons, equal to 0.02 percent in March.

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 April, 26.45 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up from 24.72 percent in March and down from 34.34 percent in April 2013.

Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available on the BTS website at

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.92 reports per 1,000 passengers in April, down from both the April 2013 rate of 3.07 and the March 2014 rate of 3.68.

Incidents Involving Pets

In April, carriers reported one incident involving the loss, death, or injury of a pet while traveling by air, down from the four reports filed in both April 2013 and in March 2014.  April’s incident involved one injured pet.

Complaints About Airline Service

In April, the Department received 1,259 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 16.0 percent from the 1,085 complaints filed in April 2013, and up 12.5 percent from the 1,119 received in March 2014.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in April against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.  The Department received a total of 68 disability-related complaints in April, up from both the total of 61 complaints filed in April 2013 and the 65 complaints received in March 2014.

Complaints About Discrimination

In April, the Department received six complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – equal to the total of six recorded in April 2013, but up from the four recorded in March 2014.

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

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.


June 2014

Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 14 Reporting Carriers and Tarmac Data Filed by All Carriers


     79.6 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 94.0 percent
  2. Alaska Airlines – 90.3 percent
  3. Virgin America – 86.5 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates 

  1. ExpressJet Airlines – 74.2 percent
  2. Southwest Airlines – 74.2 percent
  3. Envoy Air – 75.2 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

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

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

  1. Virgin Atlantic flight 15 from London Gatwick to Orlando, 4/30/14 – delayed on tarmac 267 minutes

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. ExpressJet Airlines – 3.4 percent
  2. Envoy Air – 3.2 percent
  3. SkyWest Airlines – 1.8 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Delta Air Lines – 0.1 percent
  2. Frontier Airlines – 0.1 percent
  3. Virgin America – 0.1 percent


DOT 54-14

Updated: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
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