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August Airline On-Time Performance Down From Previous Year, Up From July

Thursday, October 9, 2014


WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 77.7 percent in August, down from the 78.8 percent on-time rate in August 2013, but up from the 75.6 percent mark in July 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.

In addition, the reporting carriers canceled 1.2 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in August, up from the 1.0 percent cancellation rate posted in August 2013, but down from the 1.6 percent rate in July 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 (BTS) by the reporting carriers.  In addition, the consumer report contains information on mishandled baggage reports filed by consumers with the carriers and consumer service, disability, and discrimination complaints received by DOT’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 August, airlines reported one tarmac delay of more than three hours on a domestic flight and no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights.  The reported tarmac delay is under investigation by the Department.

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of August, there were nine flights that were chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for three consecutive months.  There were an additional 16 regularly scheduled flights that were chronically delayed for two consecutive months.  There were no chronically delayed flights for four 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 August, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 6.14 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.16 percent in July; 7.97 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 9.01 percent in July; 6.01 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 6.59 percent in July; 0.68 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.70 percent in July; and 0.03 percent for security reasons, equal to 0.03 percent in July. 

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 August, 35.73 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up from 33.68 percent in July and 33.83 percent in August 2013.

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

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.69 reports per 1,000 passengers in August, up from both August 2013’s rate of 3.12 and July 2014’s rate of 3.55.

Incidents Involving Pets

In August, carriers reported 10 incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets while traveling by air, up from the four reports filed in August 2013, and equal to the 10 reports filed in July 2014.  August’s incidents involved the death of one pet and the injury of nine pets.

Complaints About Airline Service

In August, the Department received 1,602 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 21.9 percent from the 1,314 complaints filed in August 2013, and down 3.1 percent from the 1,653 received in July 2014.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in August against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.  The Department received a total of 83 disability-related complaints in August, down from the total of 84 complaints filed in August 2013, but up from the 71 complaints received in July 2014.

Complaints About Discrimination

In August, the Department received seven complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – up from the total of five recorded in August 2013, but equal to the total of seven recorded in July 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 can be found on DOT’s website at



October 2014


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




     77.7 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 94.0 percent
  2. Delta Air Lines – 84.8 percent
  3. Virgin America – 84.3 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates 

  1. Envoy Air (Formerly American Eagle Airlines) – 70.6 percent
  2. American Airlines – 73.2 percent
  3. ExpressJet Airlines – 74.6 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

  1. Republic Airlines flight 3497 from Washington Reagan to Columbus, Ohio, 8/12/14 – delayed on tarmac 183 minutes

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

*There were no international flights in August with tarmac delays exceeding four hours.

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Envoy Air (Formerly American Eagle Airlines) – 3.8 percent
  2. SkyWest Airlines – 2.4 percent
  3. ExpressJet Airlines – 2.0 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Virgin America – 0.1 percent
  2. Frontier Airlines – 0.3 percent
  3. Delta Air Lines – 0.4 percent



DOT 95-14