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Flight Cancellations Slightly Down From Previous Year, October 2014

The nation’s largest airlines canceled 0.9 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in November, an improvement over both the 1.0 percent cancellation rate posted in November 2013 and the 1.1 percent rate in October 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released last week.

In addition, the reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 80.6 percent in November, down from the 83.5 percent on-time rate in November 2013, but up from the 80.0 percent mark in October 2014.

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 statistics on mishandled baggage, as well as consumer service, disability, and discrimination complaints received by DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division. The Department routinely contacts individual carriers when it notices spikes or significant variations in complaint types or complaint levels in regulated areas. The consumer report also includes reports of incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.

Tarmac Delays

In November, airlines reported four tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights. Three of the reported tarmac delays involved flights departing from Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport on November 22 during an ice storm. All of the reported tarmac delays are under investigation by the Department.

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of November, there was one flight that was chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for three consecutive months. There were an additional four regularly scheduled flights that were chronically delayed for two consecutive months. There were no chronically delayed flights for four 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 November, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 5.93 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.48 percent in October; 6.72 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 6.87 percent in October; 5.19 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.09 percent in October; 0.46 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.34 percent in October; and 0.02 percent for security reasons, equal to 0.02 percent in October.

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 November, 28.72 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up from 24.53 percent in October and 27.11 percent in November 2013.

Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available on the BTS site at http://www.bts.gov.

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.92 reports per 1,000 passengers in November, up from both November 2013’s rate of 2.63 and October 2014’s rate of 2.87.

Incidents Involving Pets

In November, carriers reported two incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets while traveling by air, down from the six reports filed in November 2013, but equal to the two reports filed in October 2014. November’s incidents involved the death of one pet and one injured pet.

Complaints About Airline Service

In November, the Department received 910 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 20.2 percent from the total of 757 filed in November 2013, but down 25.0 percent from the 1,213 received in October 2014.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in November against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities. The Department received a total of 43 disability-related complaints in November, down from both the 52 complaints received in November 2013 and the 65 complaints received in October 2014.

Complaints About Discrimination

In November, the Department received two complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – down from both the total of five recorded in November 2013 and the nine recorded in October 2014.

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 www.dot.gov/airconsumer.

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.dot.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-consumer-reports.


January 2015


Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 14 Reporting Carriers and Tarmac Data Filed by All Carriers


80.6 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 89.4 percent
  2. Delta Air Lines – 86.6 percent
  3. Alaska Airlines – 84.7 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Envoy Air (Formerly American Eagle Airlines) – 69.3 percent
  2. Frontier Airlines – 72.3 percent
  3. SkyWest Airlines – 76.4 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

  1. US Airways flight 1743 from Detroit to Miami, 11/22/14 – delayed on tarmac 228 minutes
  2. American Airlines flight 1125 from Detroit to Dallas-Fort Worth, 11/22/14 – delayed on tarmac 214 minutes
  3. JetBlue Airways flight 1836 from Detroit to Boston, 11/22/14 – delayed on tarmac 206 minutes
  4. Southwest Airlines flight 1614 from Phoenix to Denver, 11/30/14 – delayed on tarmac 186 minutes in Colorado Springs, Colo.

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

* There were no international flights in November with tarmac delays exceeding four hours.

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Envoy Air (Formerly American Eagle Airlines) – 3.5 percent
  2. SkyWest Airlines – 2.2 percent
  3. ExpressJet Airlines – 1.1 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Delta Air Lines – 0.1 percent
  2. Virgin America – 0.1 percent
  3. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.3 percent