Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - The nation's largest airlines reported only three flights in June with tarmac delays of more than three hours compared to 268 flights in June 2009 and with no increase in the rate of canceled flights, 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 only tarmac delays longer than three hours reported in June by the 18 airlines who file on-time performance with DOT involved three United Airlines flights departing Chicagos OHare airport on June 18, a day in which the Chicago area experienced a severe thunderstorm. None of the tarmac delays exceeded the three-hour limit by more than five minutes. June was the second full month of data since the new aviation consumer rule went into effect on April 29. In May, the first full month, there were five reported tarmac times of more than three hours, down from 34 in May 2009. A subsequent DOT investigation determined that four of the five May flights were misreported by the airline. Corrected data will be available from BTS when the airline submits revised data.
The carriers canceled 1.5 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in June, equal to the 1.5 percent cancellation rate of June 2009. They posted a 1.2 percent cancellation rate in May 2010.
The new rule prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations. The Department will investigate tarmac delays that exceed this limit.
The monthly report also includes data
on on-time performance, chronically delayed flights, flight cancellations and
the causes of flight delays by the reporting carriers. In addition, it has 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
The reporting carriers recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 76.4 percent in June, better than the 76.1 percent on-time rate of June 2009 but down from May 2010's 79.9 percent.
In June, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that .0840 percent of their scheduled flights had tarmac delays of two hours or more, up from .0670 percent in May. There were three flights with tarmac delays of more than three hours in June.
At the end of June, there were 17 chronically delayed flights – those that are more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for two consecutive months. There were no chronically delayed flights for three or four consecutive months or more. A list of flights that were chronically delayed for a single month is available from BTS (www.bts.gov).
In June, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 6.56 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.40 percent in May; 8.12 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 6.48 percent in May; 6.29 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.03 percent in May; 0.74 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.60 percent in May; and 0.04 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.03 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 late flights delayed by weather, including those reported in either the category of extreme weather or included in National Aviation System delays. In June, 40.43 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down 7.01 percent from June 2009, when 43.48 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, and up 3.22 percent from May when 39.17 percent of late flights were delayed by weather.
Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available on the BTS website at http://www.bts.gov.
The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.72 reports per 1,000 passengers in June, an improvement over June 2009's rate of 4.26 but up from May 2010's 3.29 rate. For the first six months of the year, the carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.68 per 1,000 passengers, down from the 4.15 rate for the first half of 2009.
The report also includes reports of involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, for the second quarter and first six months of this year. The 18 U.S. carriers who report denied boarding data posted a bumping rate of 1.06 per 10,000 passengers for the quarter, down from the 1.43 rate for the second quarter of 2009. For the first six months of this year, the carriers had a bumping rate of 1.37 per 10,000 passengers, down from the rate of 1.39 rate posted during the first six months of 2009.
In June, carriers reported six incidents involving the loss, death or injury of pets while traveling by air, up from both the five incidents reported in June 2009 and three in May 2010. June's incidents involved six deaths.
In June, the Department received 1,419 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 89.7 percent from the 748 complaints filed in June 2009 and up 77.1 percent from the 801 complaints received in May 2010. For the first six months of this year, passengers filed 5,757 complaints, up 32.2 percent from the total of 4,355 received during January-June 2009.
The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in June against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 60 disability-related complaints in June, higher than both the total of 55 complaints filed in June 2009 and the 41 received in May 2010. For the first six months of the year, the Department received 263 disability-related complaints, up 3.1 percent from the 255 filed during January-June 2009.
In June, the Department received 22 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin or sex – up from the total of 10 recorded in both June 2009 and in May 2010. For the first six months of this year the Department received 72 discrimination complaints, up from the 55 recorded in January-June 2009.
Consumers may file their complaints in writing with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, W96-432,
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. In addition, this information is now available for the first time on the reporting airlines' websites.
The Air Travel Consumer Report can be found on DOT's website at http://airconsumer.dot.gov. It is available in "pdf" and Microsoft Word format.
Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 18 Reporting Carriers
76.4 percent on-time arrivals
1. Hawaiian Airlines – 93.6 percent
2. Alaska Airlines – 88.9 percent
3. US Airways – 83.4 percent
1. Comair – 64.9 percent
2. American Eagle Airlines – 67.9 percent
3. ExpressJet Airlines – 69.7 percent
1. United Airlines flight 688 from Chicago O'Hare to New York LaGuardia, 6/18/10 – delayed on tarmac 185 minutes
2. United Airlines flight 566 from Chicago O'Hare to Atlanta, 6/18/10 – delayed on tarmac 183 minutes
3. United Airlines flight 896 from Chicago O'Hare to Washington Dulles, 6/18/10 – delayed on tarmac 182 minutes
(There were only three flights with tarmac delays of more than three hours in June)
1.Comair – 4.0 percent
2. American Eagle Airlines – 3.8 percent
3.Pinnacle Airlines – 2.5 percent
1. Continental Airlines – 0.1 percent
2. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.1 percent
3. AirTran Airways – 0.3 percent