Thursday, August 3, 2006 - The nation's largest airlines recorded a lower rate of on-time flights and a higher rate of cancellations this past June than in both the previous month and June of last year, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
According to information filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), the 20 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 72.8 percent in June, down from both June 2005's 75.2 percent and May 2006's 78.3 percent. Also in June, the carriers canceled 1.7 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, up from both the 1.6 percent cancellation rate of June 2005 and the 1.2 percent rate recorded in May 2006.
The monthly report also includes data on the causes of flight delays, as well as information on reports of mishandled baggage filed with the carriers, airline bumping, and consumer service, disability and discrimination complaints received by DOT's Aviation Consumer Protection Division. This report also includes reports required to be filed by U.S. carriers of incidents involving pets traveling by air.
The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 7.67 percent of their June flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 7.07 percent in May 2006; 8.67 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 6.85 percent in May; 7.53 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.57 percent in May; 1.26 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.82 in May; and 0.06 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.04 percent in May. 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 show the percentage of overall flights delayed by weather, including those reported in either the category of extreme weather or included in National Aviation System delays. In June, 45.17 percent of flights were delayed by weather, down 13.18 percent from June 2005, when 52.03 percent of flights were delayed by weather, and down 5.14 percent from May when 47.62 percent of flights were delayed by weather.
Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available on the BTS site on the World Wide Web at http://www.bts.gov.
The U.S. carriers reporting flight delay and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 6.28 reports per 1,000 passengers in June, down from June 2005's 6.32 rate but higher than May 2006's 4.94 mark. For the first six months of this year, the carriers posted a 5.86 mishandled baggage rate, well below the 6.20 rate for January-June 2005.
The report also includes airline reports of involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, for the second quarter of this year. Of the 20 U.S. carriers who report on-time performance and mishandled baggage data, 19 also were required to report their bumping records to DOT for the quarter. These carriers posted a bumping rate of 1.12 per 10,000 passengers for the quarter, up from the 0.84 rate recorded for carriers included in the report during the second quarter of 2005. For the first six months of the year, the carriers posted a bumping rate of 1.22 per 10,000 passengers, up from the 0.97 rate for January-June 2005.
In June, carriers reported six incidents involving pets while traveling by air, compared to two reports in May. The June incidents involved three pet deaths, one injury and two lost pets. Carriers first began reporting pet incidents in May 2005.
In June, the Department received 758 complaints from consumers about airline service, up 18.4 percent from the 640 complaints received in June 2005 and 21.7 percent more than the 623 filed in May 2006. During the first six months of this year consumers filed 4,171 complaints, down 8.5 percent from the total of 4,559 received during January-June 2005.
The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in June against specific airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 46 disability-related complaints in June, the same number it received in June 2005 and 21.1 more than the total of 38 filed in May 2006. For the first six months of this year the Department received 219 disability-related complaints, 20.7 percent fewer than the 276 filed during January-June 2005.
In June, the Department received 16 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin or sex – compared to the totals of 10 complaints filed in June 2005 and 12 in May 2006. For the first six months of this year, the Department received 62 discrimination complaints, down 6.1 percent from the 66 received during January-June 2005.
Consumers may file their complaints in writing with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, Room 4107, 400 7th St. SW, Washington, DC 20590; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; by voice mail at (202) 366-2220 or by TTY at (202) 366-0511.
Consumers who want on-time performance data for specific flights should call their airline ticket offices or their travel agents. This information is available on the computerized reservation systems used by these agents.
The Air Travel Consumer Report can be found on DOT's World Wide Web site at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov. It is available in "pdf" and Microsoft Word format.
Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 20 Reporting Carriers
72.8 percent on-time arrivals
1. Hawaiian Airlines – 94.6 percent
2. Aloha Airlines – 85.5 percent
3. Skywest Airlines – 80.1 percent
1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 63.5 percent
2. ATA Airlines – 63.7 percent
3. Mesa Airlines – 66.7 percent
1. Comair flight 5285 San Antonio, TX to Atlanta – late 95.65 percent of the time
1. Comair flight 5719 from Atlanta to Portland, ME – late 95.65 percent of the time
3. Comair flight 5832 from Columbus, OH to New York LaGuardia – late 95.00 percent of the time
3. Comair flight 5570 from New York LaGuardia to Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, NC – late 95.00 percent of the time
5. American Eagle Airlines flight 4897 from New York LaGuardia to Charlotte, NC – late 92.31 percent of the time
5. Comair flight 5830 from New York LaGuardia to Birmingham, AL – late 92.31 percent of the time
5. Comair flight 5536 from Charlotte, NC to New York LaGuardia – late 92.31 percent of the time
5. ExpressJet Airlines flight 2043 from Grand Rapid, MI to Newark, NJ – late 92.31 percent of the time
1. Mesa Airlines – 5.0 percent
2. ExpressJet Airlines – 3.9 percent
3. American Eagle Airlines – 3.7 percent
1. Frontier Airlines – 0.1 percent
2. JetBlue Airways – 0.1 percent
3. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.3 percent