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July On-Time Performance Up, Cancellations Down From Previous Year, June 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015


WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 78.1 percent in July, up from both the 75.6 percent on-time rate in July 2014 and the 74.8 percent mark in June 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.

In addition, the reporting carriers canceled 0.9 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, an improvement over both the 1.6 percent cancellation rate posted in July 2014 and the 1.8 percent rate in June 2015.  The cancellation rate in July 2015 was the lowest for any July in twenty-one (21) years of comparable records.

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 statistics on mishandled baggage reports filed by consumers with the carriers and aviation service complaints filed with DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division by consumers regarding a range of issues such as flight problems, baggage, reservation and ticketing, refunds, consumer service, disability, and discrimination.  The consumer report also includes reports of incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of animals traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.

Tarmac Delays

In July, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights.

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of July, there were six 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 41 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 July, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported total delays of 21.89 percent – 5.58 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.29 percent in June; 8.16 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 8.81 percent in June; 6.27 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 6.97 percent in June; 0.62 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.87 percent in June; and 0.04 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.03 percent in June.  In addition, 0.92 percent of flights were canceled and 0.29 percent were diverted.

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 July, 29.36 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down from 33.68 percent in July 2014 and from 35.57 percent in June 2015.

Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available from BTS.

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.22 reports per 1,000 passengers in July, down from both July 2014’s rate of 3.49 and June 2015’s rate of 3.63.

Incidents Involving Animals

In July, carriers reported five incidents involving the loss, injury, or death of animals while traveling by air, up from the two reports filed in in June 2015.  July’s incidents involved the death of four animals and one injured animal.

Complaints About Airline Service

In July, the Department received 2,163 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 31.1 percent from the total of 1,650 filed in July 2014 and up 5.4 percent from the 2,052 received in June 2015.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in July against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.  The Department received a total of 97 disability-related complaints in July, up from both the 70 complaints received in July 2014 and the 69 complaints received in June 2015.

Complaints About Discrimination

In July, the Department received nine complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – up from both the total of seven recorded in July 2014 and the five recorded in June 2015.

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



September 2015


Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 13 Reporting Carriers and Tarmac Data Filed by All Carriers


     78.1 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 88.6 percent
  2. Alaska Airlines – 86.4 percent
  3. Delta Air Lines – 84.2 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates  

  1. Spirit Airlines – 68.7 percent
  2. Frontier Airlines – 71.4 percent
  3. Southwest Airlines – 73.5 percent
    3.   United Airlines – 73.5 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

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

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

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

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Envoy Air – 2.6 percent
  2. ExpressJet Airlines – 1.8 percent
  3. SkyWest Airlines – 1.6 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Delta Air Lines – 0.1 percent
  2. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.2 percent
  3. Alaska Airlines – 0.3 percent


DOT 75-15