Airlines Show Varying Results in U.S. DOT Consumer Report Released Last Week

Airlines Show Varying Results in U.S. DOT Consumer Report Released Last Week
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October 14, 2014

When it comes to delays, cancelled flights and pet injuries, a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) shows varying results for the nation's largest airlines.

The DOT released its Air Travel Consumer Report last week, which includes information for on-time arrival rates, tarmac delays, cancelled flights, discrimination reports and injuries to pets for August.

According to the report, airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 77.7 percent in August, down from the 78.8 percent on-time rate in August 2013. This is an increase from 75.6 percent in July 2014. Hawaii Airlines had the highest on-time arrival rate with 94 percent. At 70.6 percent, Envoy Air, formerly American Eagle Airlines, had the lowest.

Airlines also reported an increase in cancelled flights, but only as compared to the same time last year. This year 1.2 percent of scheduled domestic flights were cancelled an increase from 1 percent last August. This is down slightly, however, from July, which posted a 1.6 percent cancellation rate. Envoy Air also had the highest rate of cancelled flights at 3.8 percent. Virgin America had the lowest rate of cancelled flights at 0.1 percent.

Delays

In August, airlines reported one tarmac delay of more than three hours on a domestic flight and no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights. A Republic Airlines flight from Washington Regan to Columbus, Ohio sat on the tarmac for 183 minutes, or just more than three hours.

At the end of August, there were nine flights that were chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for three consecutive months. Express Jet and Southwest Airlines handled all of these flights, most of which originated in either Texas or California.

In total, there were an additional 16 regularly scheduled flights that were chronically delayed for two consecutive months. An overwhelming number of these flights were handled by Southwest.

There were no chronically delayed flights for four consecutive months or more.

A full list of flights that were chronically delayed for a single month is also available.

Almost 8 percent of flights were delayed because of a late-arriving aircraft while about 6 percent were a result of aviation system delays or factors within the airline's control, such as maintenance or crew problems. Less than 1 percent were a result of extreme weather or security reasons.

Baggage, Pets and Airline Complaints

The rate of mishandled baggage stood at 3.69 reports per 1,000 passengers, up slightly from August 2013 and July 2014 which were 3.12 and 3.55, respectively.

In August, carriers reported 10 pet incidents, including nine injuries and one death. This is equal to the 10 reports filed in July, but an increase of four reports filed in August 2013.

The DOT saw an almost 22 percent jump in complaints about airline service from 1,314 in August 2013 to 1,602 in August 2014. But, this is also down about 3 percent from July's total of 1,653.

The report also showed an increase in disability-related complaints from July. The DOT received a total of 83 disability-related complaints in August, which is an increase from 71 the previous month. It is down one from August 2013.

In August, the Department received seven 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 August 2013, but equal to the total of seven recorded in July 2014.

The full report can be found on DOT's website.

Consumers can file their complaints my mail by writing to 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 dot.gov/airconsumer.