US airlines getting more punctual
16 May, 2008: Airlines in
the United States improved their
operations in March 2008 compared to
the poor performance reported a
According to the monthly Air Travel
Consumer Report of the United States
Department of Transportation, the 19
domestic carriers reported that
71.6% of their flights arrived on
time in March 2008 compared to 68.6%
in February 2008.
The on-time arrival rate in February
2008 was the seventh worst month for
airline performance since the
Department of Transportation began
using its current methodology in
1995, the website usatoday.com has
The latest report by the Department
of Transportation also stresses the
airline industry’s sluggish
performance in 2008, compared to a
year ago. In March 2007, 73% of
flights arrived on time.
Flights are considered on time if
they arrive within 15 minutes of
In March 2008, cancellation of
flights was lower compared to
February 2008: Airlines in the
United States cancelled 2.6% of
their scheduled domestic flights in
March – down from February’s 3.6%
but unchanged from March 2007.
In the monthly Air Travel Consumer
Report of the Department of
Transportation, the airlines blame
delays and cancellations on a number
of factors, including weather,
maintenance and crew problems,
besides the United States’ aging
In the Department of Transportation
report, airlines in the United
States give an account of a
mishandled baggage rate of 6.7
reports per 1,000 passengers in
March 2008 – which is worse than 6.4
of February 2008, but better than
7.7 a year ago.
Involuntary denied boarding, or
bumping – which is measured
quarterly – dropped slightly in the
first three months of 2008 – that
is, 1.36 bumped passengers per
10,000 as against 1.46 in the
January-March period of 2007.
The US Department of Transportation
received 1,013 complaints about
airline service in March 2008 – down
by 22.5% from March 2007, but
slightly up from February 2007.
Other facts that appear in the
monthly Air Travel Consumer Report
of the US Department of
* US Airways had the best ‘on-time’
rate among large carriers, with
79.1%. American Airlines was the
worst, with 62%.
* American Airlines flight 791 from
New York LaGuardia to Dallas-Fort
Worth – which is late more than 92%
of the time – was the most
frequently delayed flight.
* American Airlines, based in Fort
Worth, also had the highest rate of
cancellations among large carriers.
Dealing with the grounding of
hundreds of flights for MD-80
aircraft inspections in March as
well as several days of stormy
weather, American Airlines canceled
5.6% of its flights.
* Frontier Airlines and Alaska
Airlines had the lowest cancellation