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April Airline On-Time Performance Higher Than Last Year and March

April Airline On-Time Performance Higher Than Last Year and March


DOT 111-10
Bill Mosley

Thursday, June 3, 2010 - The nation's largest airlines had a rate of on-time flights this past April that was higher than the same month last year and the rate posted in March 2010, 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 18 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 85.3 percent in April, better than the 79.1 percent on-time rate of April 2009 and March 2010's 80.0 percent.

The monthly report also includes data on lengthy tarmac delays, flight cancellations and the causes of flight delays by the reporting carriers, as well as information on airline bumping, 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 of incidents involving pets traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.


The consumer report includes BTS data on the number of domestic flights canceled by the reporting carriers. In April, the carriers canceled 0.7 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate than the 1.5 percent cancellation rates posted in both April 2009 and March 2010.

Tarmac Delays

In April, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that .001 percent of their scheduled flights had tarmac delays of three hours or more, down from .005 percent in March. There was one flight with a tarmac delay of four hours or more in April.

Causes of Flight Delays

In April, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 4.45 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.03 percent in March; 4.71 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 6.44 percent in March; 4.30 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.24 percent in March; 0.33 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.54 percent in March; and 0.04 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.06 percent in March. 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 April, 35.21 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down 20.66 percent from April 2009, when 44.38 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and down 13.45 percent from March when 40.68 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 delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.89 reports per 1,000 passengers in April, an improvement over April 2009's rate of 3.89 and March 2010's 3.72 rate.

Incidents Involving Pets

In April, carriers reported seven incidents involving the loss, death or injury of a pet while traveling by air, higher than the zero incidents in April 2009 and higher than the one incident posted in March 2010. April's incidents involved the death of six pets and the injury of one pet.

Complaints About Airline Service

In April, the Department received 878 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 12.2 percent from the 782 complaints filed in April 2009 and 9.4 percent less than the total of 961 complaints received in March 2010.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in April against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 41 disability-related complaints in April, down from the total of 47 complaints received in April 2009 and the 44 complaints received in March 2010.

Complaints About Discrimination

In April, the Department received 13 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability such as race, religion, national origin or sex down from the total of 15 discrimination complaints filed in April 2009 and the total of 15 received in March 2010.

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 Air Travel Consumer Report can be found on DOT's World Wide Web site at is available in "pdf" and Microsoft Word format.

Air Travel Consumer Report April 2010
Key On-Time Performance and Flight Cancellation Statistics

Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 18 Reporting Carriers


85.3 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Hawaiian Airlines 93.5 percent

2. Alaska Airlines 90.9 percent

3.US Airways 88.6 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. American Eagle Airlines 82.3 percent

2. Comair 82.3 percent

3. American Airlines 83.2 percent

Most Frequently Delayed Flights

1. American Eagle Airlines flight 3637 from Miami to Charlotte late 100.0 percent of the time

2. American Eagle Airlines flight 3626 from Pensacola, FL to Miami late 84.00 percent of the time

3. Southwest Airlines flight 1602 from Phoenix to Denver late 80.77 percent of the time

4. American Eagle Airlines flight 3638 from Charlotte to Miami late 80.00 percent of the time

4.American Eagle Airlines flight 3648 from Cincinnati to Miami late 80.00 percent of the time

Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays

1. American Airlines flight 687 from Atlanta to Miami, 4/26/10 delayed on tarmac 259 minutes

(There was only one flight with a tarmac delay of four hours or more in April)

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. SkyWest Airlines 1.5 percent

2. American Eagle Airlines 1.2 percent

3.Mesa Airlines 1.0 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

1.Hawaiian Airlines 0.0 percent*

1. Frontier Airlines 0.0 percent#

2. Continental Airlines 0.1 percent

* Hawaiian Airlines had two canceled flights in April.

# Frontier Airlines had three canceled flights in April.