WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 67.7 percent in January, down from both the 81.0 percent on-time rate posted in January 2013 and the 68.9 percent on-time rate posted in December 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.
Airlines also reported 18 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and three tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights. Sixteen of the reported tarmac delays involved Southwest Airlines flights that arrived at Chicago Midway Airport on Jan. 2. Due to a snowstorm, those flights were delayed in receiving an open gate. All of the reported delays are under investigation by the Department.
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 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.
The reporting carriers canceled 6.5 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in January, up from both the 1.5 percent cancellation rate posted in January 2013 and the 2.9 percent rate posted in December 2013.
Chronically Delayed Flights
At the end of January, there were 155 flights that were 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 January, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 6.60 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 7.77 percent in December; 9.87 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 11.25 percent in December; 7.66 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 8.03 percent in December; 1.26 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.95 percent in December; and 0.03 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.05 percent in December.
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 January, 29.14 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down from 34.12 in January 2013 and 30.49 percent in December.
Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available on the BTS website at http://www.bts.gov.
The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 5.54 reports per 1,000 passengers in January, up from both the January 2013 rate of 3.41 and the December 2013 rate of 4.55.
Incidents Involving Pets
In January, carriers reported two incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets while traveling by air, equal to the two reports filed in both January 2013 and in December 2013. January’s incidents involved the death of one pet and one lost pet.
Complaints About Airline Service
In January, the Department received 1,713 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 24.9 percent from the 1,372 complaints filed in January 2013, and up 53.8 percent from the 1,114 received in December 2013.
Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers
The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in January against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 76 disability-related complaints in January, up from both the total of 55 complaints filed in January 2013 and the 47 complaints received in December 2013.
Complaints About Discrimination
In January, the Department received eight complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – up from the total of six recorded in January 2013, but down from the nine recorded in December 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.
AIR TRAVEL CONSUMER REPORT
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
67.7 percent on-time arrivals
Highest On-Time Arrival Rates
- Hawaiian Airlines – 92.8 percent
- Alaska Airlines – 87.8 percent
- Virgin America – 84.3 percent
Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates
- ExpressJet Airlines – 56.0 percent
- JetBlue Airways – 56.9 percent
- American Eagle Airlines – 59.1 percent
Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours
- Southwest Airlines flight 502 from San Diego to Chicago Midway, 1/2/14 – delayed on tarmac 318 minutes
- Republic Airlines flight 3291 from Philadelphia to Charleston, S.C., 1/2/14 – delayed on tarmac 247 minutes
- Southwest Airlines flight 289 from Salt Lake City to Chicago Midway, 1/2/14 – delayed on tarmac 246 minutes
- Southwest Airlines flight 3160 from Phoenix to Chicago Midway, 1/2/14 – delayed on tarmac 241 minutes
- Southwest Airlines flight 1377 from San Jose, Calif. to Chicago Midway, 1/2/14 – delayed on tarmac 237 minutes
International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours
- British Airways flight 66 from Philadelphia to London, 1/2/14 – delayed on tarmac 283 minutes
- Air Canada flight 1861 from Orlando to Toronto, 1/11/14 – delayed on tarmac 271 minutes
- Jazz Aviation flight 7873 from Newark to Toronto, 1/11/14 – delayed on tarmac 244 minutes
Highest Rates of Canceled Flights
- ExpressJet Airlines – 15.4 percent
- American Eagle Airlines – 12.2 percent
- JetBlue Airways – 10.7 percent
Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights
- Hawaiian Airlines – 0.0 percent*
- Virgin America – 1.2 percent
- Alaska Airlines – 1.2 percent
*Hawaiian Airlines canceled one flight in January.