Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

October On-Time Performance Slightly Down From September 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 80.0 percent in October, down from the 81.1 percent mark in September 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 October, an improvement over the 1.4 percent rate in September 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 statistics on mishandled baggage, as well as consumer service, disability, and discrimination complaints received by DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division.  The Department routinely contacts individual carriers when it notices spikes or significant variations in complaint types or complaint levels in regulated areas.  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 October, 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.  The reported tarmac delay is under investigation by the Department.

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of October, there was one flight that was chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for three consecutive months.  There were an additional three 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 October, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 6.48 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 5.98 percent in September; 6.87 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 6.07 percent in September; 5.09 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 4.82 percent in September; 0.34 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.39 percent in September; and 0.02 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.03 percent in September. 

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 October, 24.53 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down from 28.19 in September and from 27.39 in October 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 2.87 reports per 1,000 passengers in October, up from October 2013’s rate of 2.53, but down from September 2014’s rate of 2.98.

Incidents Involving Pets

In October, carriers reported two incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets while traveling by air, down from the four reports filed in October 2013, but up from the zero reports filed in September 2014.  October’s incidents involved the death of one pet and one lost pet.

Complaints About Airline Service

In October, the Department received 1,213 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 4.8 percent from the total of 1,157 filed in September 2014.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in October against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.  The Department received a total of 65 disability-related complaints in October, up from the 59 complaints received in September 2014.

Complaints About Discrimination

In October, 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 the total of six recorded in September 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





December 2014



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



     80.0 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 89.7 percent
  2. Alaska Airlines – 87.2 percent
  3. Delta Air Lines – 86.8 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates 

  1. Envoy Air (Formerly American Eagle Airlines) – 66.2 percent
  2. ExpressJet Airlines – 75.4 percent
  3. American Airlines – 77.4 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

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

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

  1. American Airlines flight 81 from London to Dallas-Fort Worth, 10/2/14 – delayed on tarmac 241 minutes in Houston

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Envoy Air (Formerly American Eagle Airlines) – 4.7 percent
  2. ExpressJet Airlines – 1.8 percent
  3. SkyWest Airlines – 1.7 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Delta Air Lines – 0.0 percent*
  2. Virgin America – 0.0 percent**
  3. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.3 percent

*Delta Air Lines canceled 17 flights in October.

**Virgin America canceled two flights in October.


DOT 107-14