Airlines Get High Marks for Performance Despite Recent Chaos

If you fly to Newark or San Francisco much, or were scheduled to fly one of those chaotic, oft-delayed American flights earlier this fall, you may be wondering how anyone could say anything good about recent airline performance. Actually, it has been good, and in fact better than most years.

American Apologizes with Free Miles

Second Best On-Time Performance

According to the latest U.S. government figures, airline on-time arrival performance during the first three quarters of this year (January through September) was the second-best such period in 18 years (2003 took first place). It could be a very different story, though, depending on your airport.

Planes Late  to San Francisco, Newark

For September alone, flights to San Francisco International had the lowest on-time arrival of the busiest airports in the U.S., while Newark took the top spot for arrivals from January through September. Best airport for arrivals, for both September and all three quarters: Utah’s Salt Lake City.

Best and Worst Airports for Delays

American Airlines Delays

Meanwhile, the relatively good report on the airlines as a whole must have surprised some who flew American earlier this year – the airline amassed some truly terrible statistics in September including 22,000 delayed and canceled flights.

American executives blamed unhappy pilots, using the all-purpose heading of labor strife – but cabin crews couldn’t be blamed for all those seats that came unmoored in the latter part of the month leaving some passengers nearly upside-down with their legs in the air. Fortunately, the airline has fixed the seats and has been sitting down to talks with its pilots, just in time for the next government performance report.

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Published: November 9, 2012