The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today released its March 2018 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on air carrier data compiled for the month of January 2018. In January 2018, the reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 79.6 percent, up from the 76.0 percent on-time rate in January 2017, but slightly down from the 80.3 percent mark in December 2017.
In January 2018, the reporting carriers canceled 3.0 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, up from both the 2.0 percent cancellation rate posted in January 2017 and the 1.2 percent rate in December 2017.
This report introduces for the first time on-time performance and cancellation data from Allegiant Air, Endeavor Air, Envoy Air, Mesa Airlines, PSA Airlines, and Republic Airlines. Oversales data from these airlines will be available in the May 2018 Air Travel Consumer Report, as oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly.
Beginning in 2018, airlines with at least one-half of one percent of the total scheduled-service domestic passenger revenue for the 12-months ending December 2016 are required to report on-time performance, cancellation, and denied boarding data to the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). The threshold for mandatory reporting for on-time performance and denied boarding had previously been at least one percent of the total scheduled-service domestic passenger revenue for all airlines.
Also beginning in 2018, reporting carriers that market domestic scheduled codeshare flights are required to file separate on-time performance, cancellations, and denied boarding data for codeshare flights marketed only under one U.S. carrier’s code. The Department has decided to delay the publication in the ATCR of this codeshare data for six months in order to enable the Department and airlines to ensure the accuracy of the data. Inaccurate data is of little use to consumers. In August 2018, the Department will publish revised ATCRs for January through June 2018 that include codeshare flights data for on-time performance, cancellations and denied boardings.
Beginning in 2019, airlines with at least one-half of one percent of the total scheduled-service domestic passenger revenue for the 12-months ending December 2017 will be required to report mishandled baggage data for domestic flights.
The consumer report also includes data on tarmac delays, chronically delayed flights, and the causes of flight delays filed with BTS by the reporting carriers. In addition, the consumer report contains a record of aviation service complaints filed with DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division by consumers regarding a range of issues including flight problems, baggage, reservation and ticketing, refunds, customer service, disability access, 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 2018, as filed by the air carriers with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division.
DOT has redesigned its airline consumer website to make it easy for travelers to understand their rights. The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.
In January 2018, airlines reported 12 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to 96 such tarmac delays reported in December 2017. In January 2018, airlines also reported 32 tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to 21 such tarmac delays reported in December 2017. Five of the extended domestic tarmac delays and 27 of the extended international tarmac delays took place at New York JFK from January 4-6 during a snowstorm. Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.
Chronically Delayed Flights
At the end of January, there were no regularly scheduled flights that were chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for two consecutive months or more. A list of flights that were chronically delayed for one or more months is available from BTS.
Causes of Flight Delays
In January 2018, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 20.38 percent of their flights were delayed – 5.30 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 5.58 percent in December; 6.16 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 6.72 percent in December; 4.93 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.46 percent in December; 0.72 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.56 percent in December; and 0.04 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.05 percent in December. In addition, 3.01 percent of flights were canceled and 0.22 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 2018, 31.51 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down from 34.33 percent in January 2017, but up from 29.26 percent in December 2017.
Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available from BTS.
In January 2018, the carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.50 reports per 1,000 passengers, an increase over both January 2017’s rate of 3.40 and December 2017’s rate of 3.15.
Oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.18 per 10,000 passengers, an improvement over the 0.55 rate for the fourth quarter of 2016. In 2017, the carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.34 per 10,000 passengers, the lowest annual rate based on historical data dating back to 1995. The previous low was 0.62 in 2016. These numbers were released previously in the February Air Travel Consumer Report. See the March Air Travel Consumer Report for denied boarding numbers by airline. January-March 2018 data will be available in the May Air Travel Consumer Report.
Incidents Involving Animals
In January 2018, carriers reported no incidents involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from both the six reports filed in January 2017 and the three reports filed in December 2017.
Complaints About Airline Service
In January 2018, DOT received 1,451 complaints about airline service from consumers, down 12.2 percent from the total of 1,653 filed in January 2017, but up 16.8 percent from the 1,242 received in December 2017.
Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers
In January 2018, the Department received a total of 66 disability-related complaints, down from the 77 complaints received in January 2017, but up from the 58 complaints received in December 2017. All complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability are investigated.
Complaints About Discrimination
In January 2018, the Department received seven complaints alleging discrimination – six complaints regarding race and one complaint regarding color. This is down from both the total of 12 recorded in January 2017 and the nine recorded in December 2017. 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.
AIR TRAVEL CONSUMER REPORT
KEY JANUARY 2018 ON-TIME PERFORMANCE AND FLIGHT CANCELLATION STATISTICS
Based on Data Filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics by the 18 Reporting Carriers and Tarmac Data Filed by All Carriers
79.6 percent on-time arrivals
Highest On-Time Arrival Rates
- Alaska Airlines – 88.9 percent
- Hawaiian Airlines – 88.3 percent
- United Airlines – 84.7 percent
Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates
- JetBlue Airways – 65.8 percent
- PSA Airlines – 70.2 percent
- ExpressJet Airlines – 74.6 percent
Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours
- JetBlue Airways flight 746 from Ponce, Puerto Rico to New York JFK, 1/4/18 – delayed 258 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
- Delta Air Lines flight 1960 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Philadelphia, 1/22/18 – delayed 232 minutes on the tarmac at Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Delta Air Lines flight 2003 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to St. Louis, Mo., 1/22/18 – delayed 223 minutes on the tarmac at Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Delta Air Lines flight 1151 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to San Francisco, 1/22/18 – delayed 205 minutes on the tarmac at Minneapolis-St. Paul
- PSA Airlines flight 5431 from Charlotte to Peoria, Ill., 1/17/18 – delayed 198 minutes on the tarmac in Charlotte
International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours
- Air China flight 989 from Beijing, China to New York JFK, 1/5/18 – delayed 405 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
- China Eastern Airlines flight 297 from Shanghai, China to New York JFK, 1/5/18 – delayed 393 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
- China Airlines flight 11 from New York JFK to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, 1/6/18 – delayed 369 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
- Air France flight 4148 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to New York JFK, 1/5/18 – delayed 360 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
- Kuwait Airways flight 117 from Shannon, Ireland to New York JFK, 1/5/18 – delayed 342 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
Highest Rates of Canceled Flights
- PSA Airlines – 7.0 percent
- Endeavor Air – 6.1 percent
- Mesa Airlines – 6.0 percent
Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights
- Hawaiian Airlines – 0.2 percent
- Allegiant Air – 0.9 percent
- Alaska Airlines – 0.9 percent
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