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November's Airline On-Time Performance Improves from Previous Month But Down from Last Year

November's Airline On-Time Performance Improves from Previous Month But Down from Last Year


DOT 01-07
Bill Mosley

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 - In November, the nation's largest airlines recorded a higher rate of on-time flights than in the previous month but down from the same month 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 76.5 percent in November, down from November 2005's 80.0 percent but an improvement over October 2006's 72.9 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 November, the carriers canceled 1.6 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, up from November 2005's 1.0 percent but down from October 2006's 1.9 percent.

Causes of Flight Delays

The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 8.22 percent of their November flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 9.68 percent in October 2006; 6.77 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 7.99 percent in October; 5.83 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 6.34 percent in October; 0.79 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.95 percent in October; and 0.05 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.06 in October. 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 late flights delayed by weather, including those reported either in the category of extreme weather or attributed to National Aviation System delays caused by weather.In November, 45.94 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down 4.03 percent from November 2005, when 47.87 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and down 0.73 percent from October when 46.28 percent of late 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

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting flight delay and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 6.32 reports per 1,000 passengers in November, higher than November 2005's 5.04 rate but below October 2006's 7.51 mark.

Incidents Involving Pets

In November, carriers reported one incident involving pets while traveling by air, down from the total of five reported in October. The November incident involved the death of a pet.  

Complaints About Airline Service

In November, the Department received 588 complaints from consumers about airline service, up 12.0 percent from the 525 complaints filed in November 2005 but 6.4 percent less than the total of 628 recorded in October 2006.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in November against specific airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 33 disability-related complaints in November, up 17.9 percent from the 28 complaints received in November 2005 and 13.8 percent above the total of 29 received in October 2006.

Complaints About Discrimination

In November, 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 five recorded in both November 2005 but down from the 10 complaints recorded in October 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; 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 It is available in "pdf" and Microsoft Word format.

Air Travel Consumer Report November 2006
Key On-Time Performance and Flight Cancellation Statistics

Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 20 Reporting Carriers


76.5 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Aloha Airlines – 93.2 percent

2. Hawaiian Airlines – 90.9 percent

3. Frontier Airlines – 87.1 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 65.7 percent

2. Comair – 66.8 percent

3. JetBlue Airways – 70.1 percent

Most Frequently Delayed Flights

1. Comair flight 5518 from New York JFK to Boston – late 96.67 percent of the time

1. Comair flight 5073 from New York JFK to Atlanta – late 96.67 percent of the time

3. Comair flight 5195 from New York JFK to Washington Dulles – late 96.15 percent of the time

4. Comair flight 5093 from New York JFK to Washington Reagan National – late 96.00 percent of the time

4. Comair flight 4954 from Washington Reagan National to New York JFK – late 96.00 percent of the time

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. American Eagle Airlines – 3.5 percent

2. Comair – 3.0 percent

3. SkyWest Airlines – 2.7 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Continental Airlines – 0.3 percent

2. JetBlue Airways – 0.3 percent

3. Frontier Airlines – 0.5 percent