Airlines reported 15 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and five tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in August, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.
All reported extended tarmac delays are being investigated by the Department.
Previous investigations of tarmac delays have resulted in enforcement action by the Department.
The reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 77.6 percent in August 2016, down from the 80.3 percent on-time rate in August 2015, but up from the 75.2 percent mark in July 2016.
The reporting carriers canceled 1.4 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in August 2016, up from the 1.0 percent cancellation rate posted in August 2015, but an improvement over the 1.9 percent rate in July 2016.
The consumer report also includes data on 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 August, as filed by the air carriers with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division.
Chronically Delayed Flights
At the end of August, there were 10 flights that were chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for three consecutive months.
There were an additional 52 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 August, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 22.43 percent of their flights were delayed – 6.35 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 6.39 percent in July; 7.65 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 8.64 percent in July; 6.04 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 6.68 percent in July; 0.67 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.86 percent in July; and 0.04 percent for security reasons, equal to 0.04 percent in July.
In addition, 1.38 percent of flights were canceled and 0.30 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 August, 33.80 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up from 27.98 percent in August 2015 but down from 36.03 percent in July 2016.
Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available from BTS.
The U.S. carriers reporting mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.15 reports per 1,000 passengers in August, an improvement over both August 2015’s rate of 3.27 and July 2016’s rate of 3.32.
Incidents Involving Animals
In August, carriers reported four incidents involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from the five reports filed in August 2015, but up from the two reports filed in July 2016.
August’s incidents involved the deaths of two animals and injuries to two other animals.
Complaints About Airline Service
In August, the Department received 2,250 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 1.8 percent from the total of 2,211 filed in August 2015 and up 14.6 percent from the 1,963 received in July 2016.
Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers
The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in August against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.
The Department received a total of 96 disability-related complaints in August, up from both the 85 complaints received in August 2015 and the 70 complaints received in July 2016.
Complaints About Discrimination
In August, the Department received 15 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – up from both the total of five recorded in August 2015 and the eight recorded in July 2016.
Consumers may file air travel service complaints on the web at www.transportation.gov/airconsumer 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.
AIR TRAVEL CONSUMER REPORT
KEY AUGUST 2016 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
- 77.6 percent on-time arrivals
Highest On-Time Arrival Rates
- Hawaiian Airlines – 92.6 percent
- Alaska Airlines – 87.8 percent
- SkyWest Airlines – 81.5 percent
Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates
- Frontier Airlines – 65.9 percent
- Spirit Airlines – 71.8 percent
- American Airlines – 71.9 percent
Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours
- American Airlines flight 1293 from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to Miami, 8/2/16 – delayed 394 minutes on the tarmac in West Palm Beach, Fla. after being diverted
- American Airlines flight 152 from Washington Reagan National to Dallas-Fort Worth, 8/12/16 – delayed 292 minutes on the tarmac in Austin, Texas after being diverted
- SkyWest Airlines flight 6009 from San Antonio, Texas to Los Angeles, 8/28/16 – delayed 216 minutes on the tarmac in Los Angeles
- SkyWest Airlines flight 5191 from Seattle-Tacoma to Los Angeles, 8/28/16 – delayed 213 minutes on the tarmac in Los Angeles
- United Airlines flight 584 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, 8/28/16 – delayed 209 minutes on the tarmac in Los Angeles
International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours
- China Eastern Airlines flight 297 from Shanghai Pudong, China to New York JFK, 8/14/16 – delayed 309 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
- American Airlines flight 916 from Bogotá, Colombia to Miami, 8/2/16 – delayed 304 minutes on the tarmac in West Palm Beach, Fla. after being diverted
- American Airlines flight 914 from Caracas, Venezuela to Miami, 8/2/16 – delayed 278 minutes on the tarmac in West Palm Beach, Fla. after being diverted
- Avianca flight 0004 from Bogotá, Colombia to Miami, 8/2/16 – delayed 267 minutes on the tarmac in West Palm Beach, Fla. after being diverted
- Eva Air flight 032 from Taipei, Taiwan to New York JFK, 8/14/16 – delayed 243 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
Highest Rates of Canceled Flights
- ExpressJet Airlines – 3.7 percent
- Delta Air Lines – 2.1 percent
- American Airlines – 1.9 percent
Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights
- Alaska Airlines – 0.2 percent
- Hawaiian Airlines – 0.2 percent
- Virgin America – 0.3 percent