Thursday, August 4, 2005 - The on-time performance of the nation's largest airlines improved in June compared to the same month last year, although they had a lower percentage of on-time flights than in May 2005, 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, the 20 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 75.2 percent in June, an improvement over June 2004's 73.0 percent but below May 2005's 83.7 percent.
The monthly report also includes data on flight cancellations and 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. The 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 June, the carriers canceled 1.6 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, up from both June 2004's 1.5 percent rate and May 2005's 0.9 percent.
The carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 8.23 percent of their June flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 5.65 percent in May 2005; 7.26 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 4.53 percent in May; 6.28 percent by factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 4.41 percent in May; 1.11 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.61 percent in May; and 0.05 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. Airlines first began reporting causes of delays in June 2003.
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, 6.62 percent of flights were delayed by weather, down 21.28 percent from June 2004, when 8.41 percent of flights were delayed by weather, and up 98.20 percent from May when 3.34 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 6.21 reports per 1,000 passengers in June, higher than both June 2004's 5.05 rate and May 2005's 5.12 mark. For the first six months of this year, the carriers reported a mishandled baggage rate of 6.09 per 1,000 passengers, up from the 4.58 rate for January-June 2004.
The report also includes airline reports of involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, for the second quarter of 2005. Of the 20 U.S. carriers who report on-time performance and mishandled baggage data, 19 are also required to report their bumping records to DOT. These 19 carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.86 per 10,000 passengers for the quarter, down from the 0.88 rate for the second quarter of 2004. For the first six months of this year, the carriers had a bumping rate of 0.98 per 10,000 passengers, slightly higher than the 0.97 rate for January-June 2004.
In June, carriers reported 10 incidents involving pets while traveling by air, the same total as May. These include five reports of deaths, four reports of injuries and one loss of a pet. Carriers first began reporting pet incidents in May 2005.
In June, the Department received 638 complaints from consumers about airline service, up 13.1 percent from the total of 564 received in June 2004 and 4.9 percent more than the 608 filed in May 2005. For the first six months of this year, the Department received 4,549 complaints about airline service, up 27.9 percent from the total of 3,558 received during January-June 2004.
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 45 disability-related complaints in June, up 12.5 percent from the 40 complaints received in June 2004 but 6.3 percent fewer than the total of 48 received in May 2005. For the first six months of this year, the Department received 270 disability-related complaints, down 1.5 percent from the 274 complaints filed during January-June 2004.
In June, 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 six received in June 2004 but fewer than the total of 11 filed in May 2005. For the first six months of this year, the Department received 64 discrimination complaints, 23.1 percent above the total of 52 filed during January-June 2004.
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 email@example.com; 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
75.2 percent on-time arrivals
1. Hawaiian Airlines – 94.1 percent
2. SkyWest Airlines – 83.1 percent
3. Comair – 81.2 percent
1. Alaska Airlines – 49.8 percent
2. AirTran Airways – 66.4 percent
3. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 68.8 percent
1. Alaska Airlines flight 164 from Anchorage, AK to Seattle – late 100 percent of the time
2. Alaska Airlines flight 119 from Ontario, CA to Seattle – late 96.15 percent of the time
3. US Airways flight 182 from Charlotte, NC to Newark, NJ – late 95.65 percent of the time
4. ExpressJet Airlines flight 1212 from Washington Dulles to Newark, NJ – late 95.45 percent of the time
4. ExpressJet Airlines flight 2323 from Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Williamsburg, VA to Newark, NJ – late 95.45 percent of the time
1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 4.2 percent
2. Comair – 3.3 percent
3. Alaska Airlines – 3.1 percent
1. Frontier Airlines – 0.0 percent*
2. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.2 percent
3. JetBlue Airways – 0.2 percent
*Frontier canceled one flight in June