Wednesday, December 6, 2006 - In October, the nation's largest airlines recorded a lower rate of on-time flights than in either the previous month or October 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 72.9 percent in October, down from both October 2005's 81.3 rate and September 2006's 76.2 percent mark.
The monthly report also includes data on the causes of flight delays and cancellations, as well as reports of mishandled baggage filed with the carriers 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 consumer report includes BTS data on the number of domestic flights canceled by the reporting carriers. In October, the carriers canceled 1.9 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, slightly higher than both October 2005's 1.8 percent and September 2006's 1.7 percent.
The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 9.68 percent of their October flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 8.37 percent in September 2006; 7.99 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 6.77 percent in September; 6.34 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.74 percent in September; 0.95 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.92 percent in September; and 0.06 percent for security reasons, the same rate as 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 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 October, 46.28 percent of flights were delayed by weather, down 1.47 percent from October 2005, when 46.97 percent of flights were delayed by weather, and up 1.85 percent from September when 45.44 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 7.51 reports per 1,000 passengers in October, up from October 2005's 4.96 rate but below September 2006's 8.25 mark.
In October, carriers reported five incidents involving pets while traveling by air, up from the total of four reported in September. The October incidents involved three pet deaths, one injury and one lost pet.
In October, the Department received 628 complaints from consumers about airline service, down 4.6 percent from the 658 complaints filed in October 2005 but 0.3 percent more than the total of 626 recorded in September 2006.
The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in October against specific airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 29 disability-related complaints in October, down 40 percent from the 48 complaints received in October 2005 but 3.6 percent more than the total of 28 received in September 2006.
In October, the Department received 10 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin or sex – up slightly from the totals of eight recorded in both October 2005 and September 2006.
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
72.9 percent on-time arrivals
1. Hawaiian Airlines – 91.6 percent
2. Aloha Airlines – 91.4 percent
3. Frontier Airlines – 85.3 percent
1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 55.0 percent
2. Comair – 64.9 percent
3. Delta Air Lines – 65.9 percent
1. Comair flight 5463 from New York JFK to Buffalo, NY – late 100.00 percent of the time
1. Comair flight 5283 from New York JFK to Washington Reagan National – late 100.00 percent of the time
3. Comair flight 5197 from New York JFK to Richmond, VA – late 96.77 percent of the time
3. SkyWest Airlines flight 5751 from Modesto, CA to Los Angeles – late 96.77 percent of the time
5. Comair flight 5109 from New York JFK to Richmond, VA – late 96.30 percent of the time
5. Comair flight 5609 from Washington Reagan National to Huntsville/Decatur, AL – late 96.30 percent of the time
5. Comair flight 5534 from New York JFK to Burlington, VT – late 96.30 percent of the time
5. Comair flight 5192 from Washington Reagan National to Columbus, OH – late 96.30 percent of the time
5. SkyWest Airlines flight 5778 from Yuma, AZ to Los Angeles – late 96.30 percent of the time
5. SkyWest Airlines flight 5769 Modesto, CA to Los Angeles – late 96.30 percent of the time
1. American Eagle Airlines – 3.9 percent
2. ExpressJet Airlines – 3.2 percent
3. Mesa Airlines – 3.0 percent
1. JetBlue Airways – 0.2 percent
2. Frontier Airlines – 0.4 percent
3. Continental Airlines – 0.7 percent