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January 2017 Airline On-Time Arrival Rate Down From January 2016, Up from December 2016

Press Release Number: 
DOT 26-17
Date: 
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Media Contact: 
Caitlin Harvey, 202-366-4570

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WASHINGTON – The reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 76.0 percent in January 2017, down from the 81.3 percent on-time rate in January 2016, but up from the 75.6 percent mark in December 2016, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) released today. 

The reporting carriers canceled 2.0 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in January 2017, an improvement over the 2.6 percent cancellation rate posted in January 2016, but up from the 1.6 percent rate in December 2016.

The consumer report also includes data on tarmac delays, chronically delayed flights, and the causes of flight delays filed with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by the reporting carriers.  In addition, the consumer report contains a tally of aviation service complaints filed with DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division by consumers regarding a range of issues such as flight problems, baggage, reservation and ticketing, refunds, customer service, disability, and discrimination.  The report also includes statistics on mishandled baggage reports filed by consumers with the reporting carriers, data on oversales, and information about the total number of animals that died, were injured, or were lost during air transport in January 2017, as filed by the air carriers with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division.

Tarmac Delays

In January, airlines reported 30 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and 12 tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights.  Fourteen of the reported long domestic delays and eight of the reported long international delays occurred at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) on January 6 and resulted from a security incident at FLL.  The incident may have also impacted tarmac delays at other airports on this date.  All reported extended tarmac delays are being investigated by the Department. 

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of January, there were 18 flights that were chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for two consecutive months.  There were no chronically delayed flights for three consecutive months or more.  A list of flights that were chronically delayed for a single month is available from BTS.

Causes of Flight Delays

In January, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 24.01 percent of their flights were delayed – 7.19 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.70 percent in December; 7.86 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 8.46 percent in December; 5.90 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 6.59 percent in December; 0.72 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.70 percent in December; and 0.04 percent for security reasons, equal to 0.04 percent in December.  In addition, 1.97 percent of flights were canceled and 0.33 percent were diverted.

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.

BTS uses the data collected from airlines to determine the percentage of late flights delayed by weather, which includes those reported in the categories of extreme weather, late-arriving aircraft, and National Aviation System delays.  In January, 34.33 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up from 29.76 percent in January 2016 and from 28.36 percent in December 2016.

Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available from BTS.

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.40 reports per 1,000 passengers in January, up from January 2016’s rate of 3.32, but down from December 2016’s rate of 3.58.

Incidents Involving Animals

In January, carriers reported five incidents involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, up from the one report filed in January 2016 and equal to the five reports filed in December 2016.  January’s incidents involved the deaths of three animals and injuries to two other animals. 

Complaints About Airline Service

In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation received 1,651 complaints about airline service from consumers, down 2.8 percent from the total of 1,698 filed in January 2016 and down 4.3 percent from the 1,726 received in December 2016. 

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in January against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.  The Department received a total of 75 disability-related complaints in January, down from the 79 complaints received in January 2016, but up from the 58 complaints received in December 2016.  All complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability are investigated.

Complaints About Discrimination

In January, the Department received 12 complaints alleging discrimination – eight complaints regarding race, one complaint regarding ancestry/origin, one complaint regarding national origin, one complaint regarding color, and one complaint regarding religion.  This is an increase from the total of eight recorded in January 2016 and the five recorded in December 2016.  All complaints alleging discrimination are investigated to determine if there has been a violation(s) of the passenger’s civil rights.

Consumers may file air travel consumer or civil rights complaints on the web at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm or by voice mail at (202) 366-2220 or by TTY at (202) 366-0511.  They may also mail a complaint to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, W96-432, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590.

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 information is also available on the appropriate carrier’s website.

The Air Travel Consumer Report can be found on DOT’s website at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-consumer-reports

Facts

AIR TRAVEL CONSUMER REPORT

March 2017

KEY JANUARY 2017 ON-TIME PERFORMANCE AND FLIGHT CANCELLATION STATISTICS

Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 12 Reporting Carriers and Tarmac Data Filed by All Carriers

Overall

     76.0 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 85.7 percent
  2. Delta Air Lines – 80.7 percent
  3. American Airlines – 79.2 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates 

  1. Virgin America – 63.9 percent
  2. Frontier Airlines – 69.3 percent
  3. SkyWest Airlines – 71.0 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

  1. Delta Air Lines flight 1198 from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale, 1/6/17 – delayed 413 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale
  2. Southwest Airlines flight 494 from Baltimore-Washington to Fort Lauderdale, 1/6/17 – delayed 379 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale
  3. JetBlue Airways flight 805 from Newark to Fort Lauderdale, 1/6/17 – delayed 377 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale
  4. United Airlines flight 413 from Fort Lauderdale to Washington Dulles, 1/6/17 – delayed 377 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale
  5. JetBlue Airways flight 569 from Boston to Fort Lauderdale, 1/6/17 – delayed 374 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

  1. Air Canada Rouge flight 1622 from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, 1/6/17 – delayed 474 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale
  2. Air Canada Rouge flight 1602 from Montréal to Fort Lauderdale, 1/6/17 – delayed 394 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale
  3. JetBlue Airways flight 387 from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Cuba, 1/6/17 – delayed 376 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale
  4. JetBlue Airways flight 1048 from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to Fort Lauderdale, 1/6/17 – delayed 366 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale
  5. WestJet flight 1283 from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto, 1/6/17 – delayed 356 minutes on the tarmac in Fort Lauderdale

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights  

  1. SkyWest Airlines – 3.7 percent
  2. Spirit Airlines – 3.5 percent
  3. ExpressJet Airlines – 3.3 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.3 percent
  2. United Airlines – 0.5 percent
  3. Delta Air Lines – 1.1 percent