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Air Travel Consumer Report: September 2018 Number

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today released its November 2018 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on marketing and reporting air carrier data compiled for the month of September 2018.  The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.

September On-Time Performance

In September 2018, marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 81.9 percent, up from the 75.2 percent on-time rate in August 2018. On-time numbers for marketing carriers were not reported in previous years. 

Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates (ATCR Table 1)

  1. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 89.6 percent
  2. Delta Air Lines Network – 86.0 percent
  3. Southwest Airlines – 85.0 percent

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates (ATCR Table 1)

  1. Frontier Airlines – 66.3 percent
  2. JetBlue Airways – 77.5 percent
  3. American Airlines Network – 78.0 percent

In September 2018, reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 82.2 percent, up from the 75.6 percent on-time rate in August 2018 and down from 83.6 percent in September 2017. 

Highest Reporting Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates (ATCR Table 1A)

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 91.1 percent
  2. Delta Air Lines – 88.3 percent
  3. Alaska Airlines – 85.2 percent

Lowest Reporting Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates  (ATCR Table 1A)

  1. Frontier Airlines – 66.3 percent
  2. Mesa Airlines – 71.9 percent
  3. ExpressJet Airlines – 75.9 percent

September Cancellations

In September 2018, marketing carriers canceled 1.5 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate than 2.0 percent in August 2018.  Cancellation numbers for marketing carriers were not reported in previous years. 

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights (ATCR Table 6)

  1. Delta Air Lines Network – 0.3 percent
  2. Southwest Airlines – 1.0 percent
  3. Alaska Airlines  Network – 1.0 percent

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights (ATCR Table 6)

  1. American Airlines Network – 3.2 percent
  2. Frontier Airlines – 3.1 percent
  3. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 1.5 percent

In September 2018, reporting carriers canceled 1.4 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate both than 1.9 percent in August 2018 and 3.3 percent in September 2017.

Lowest Reporting Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights (ATCR Table 6A)

  1. Delta Air Lines – 0.1 percent
  2. United Airlines – 0.4 percent
  3. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.7 percent

Highest Reporting Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights (ATCR Table 6A)

  1. PSA Airlines – 5.3 percent
  2. Envoy Air – 3.5 percent
  3. Mesa Airlines – 3.5 percent

Tarmac Delays

In September 2018, airlines reported 11 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to 42 such tarmac delays reported in August 2018 and eight tarmac delays reported in September 2017.  In September 2018, airlines reported two tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to three such tarmac delays reported in August 2018 and one tarmac delay reported in September 2017.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours (ATCR Table 8)

  1. Delta Air Lines flight 5974 (operated by codeshare partner Republic Airline) from New York JFK to Columbus, Ohio, 9/6/18 – delayed 4 hours and 13 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
  2. Delta Air Lines flight 5229 (operated by codeshare partner Endeavor Air) from New York JFK to Syracuse, N.Y., 9/6/18 – delayed 3 hours and 22 minutes on the tarmac at New York LaGuardia
  3. Delta Air Lines flight 5083 (operated by codeshare partner Endeavor Air) from New York JFK to Rochester, N.Y., 9/6/18 – delayed 3 hours and 19 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK.

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours (ATCR Table 8A)

  1. Delta Air Lines flight 488 from New York JFK to Cancun, Mexico, 9/6/18 – delayed 4 hours and 19 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK.
  2. American Airlines flight 50 from Dallas-Fort Worth to London Heathrow, 9/7/18 – delayed 4 hours and 5 minutes on the tarmac at Dallas-Fort Worth

Mishandled Baggage

In September 2018, the reporting carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.44 reports per 1,000 passengers, a lower rate than 3.08 in August 2018, but up from September 2017’s rate of 1.99.  For the first nine months of the year, the operating carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.85 per 1,000 passengers, up from the 2.52 rate for the same period last year.

Bumping/Oversales

Bumping/oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly.  For the third quarter of 2018, the 10 U.S. marketing carriers posted an involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, rate of 0.13 per 10,000 passengers, up from the marketing carrier rate of 0.10 for the second quarter of 2018.  For the first nine months of 2018, the marketing carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.13 per 10,000 passengers. 

For the third quarter of 2018, the 17 U.S. reporting carriers posted an involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, rate of 0.13 per 10,000 passengers, a higher rate than 0.10 in in the second quarter of 2018, but lower than the rate of 0.21 for the third quarter of 2017. 

For the first nine months of this year, the reporting carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.12 per 10,000 passengers, a lower rate than 0.44 posted during the first nine months of 2017. 

See the November Air Travel Consumer Report for denied boarding numbers by airline.

Incidents Involving Animals

In September 2018, U.S. airlines reported one incident involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from the six reports filed in September 2017 and equal to one report filed in August 2018.  September’s incident involved the death of one animal.

Complaints About Airline Service

In September 2018, DOT received 1,309 complaints about airline service from consumers, down 16.9 percent from the total of 1,575 filed in September 2017 and down 24.1 percent from the 1,725 received in August 2018.  For the first nine months of this year, the Department received 12,145 consumer complaints, down 15.8 percent from the total of 14,420 filed during the first nine months of 2017.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

In September 2018, the Department received a total of 48 disability-related complaints, down from both the 63 complaints received in September 2017 and the 90 complaints received in August 2018.  For the first nine months of this year, the Department received 622 disability-related complaints, down 6.3 percent from the total of 664 filed during the first nine months of 2017.  All complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability are investigated.

Complaints About Discrimination

In September 2018, the Department received seven complaints alleging discrimination – six regarding race and one categorized as “other.”  This is an increase from the total of six discrimination complaints recorded in September 2017 and the four recorded in August 2018.  From January to September 2018, the Division received 70 complaints from consumers alleging discrimination by airlines – 48 complaints regarding race, two complaints regarding ancestry/ethnicity, seven complaints regarding national origin, six complaints regarding color, two complaints regarding religion, four complaints regarding sex, and one complaint categorized as “other.”  This is an increase from the 68 complaints alleging discrimination received during the first nine months of 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 online at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm, by voicemail 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.

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Updated: Wednesday, November 21, 2018
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