Airlines Improve on Long Delays, Worse at On-Time Arrivals, Lost Bags, Complaints

The latest statistics from the Department of Transportation have been released and once again it’s time to play Good News/Bad News.

Long Delays

This is the good news, and it’s all about planes filled with passengers that idle on the tarmac for three hours or more. Back in 2010, the DOT began fining airlines for these long delays and it certainly appears to be working.

Domestic flights with delays longer than three hours

  • 2009 – 868 flights
  • 2013 – 84 flights
  • 2014 – 30 flights

On-Time Arrivals

And now, the bad news – but it’s not terrible. In 2014, the overall rate of airline on-time arrivals was a so-so 76 percent, down from 78 percent in 2013. But three airlines did very well this past December:

  1. Delta Air Lines – 89%
  2. Hawaiian Airlines – 88%
  3. AirTran Airways – 87%

Kudos to Delta. It should also be noted that AirTran flew its last flight as a separate carrier in December and has now disappeared into merger partner Southwest which logged an on-time rate of 73 percent.

Lost or Mishandled Bags

What to do if your bag is lost

More missing bags: In 2014, airlines posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.62 per 1,000 passengers, up from 2013’s rate of 3.22. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not very many bags unless of course it’s your bag we’re talking about. By the way, the term ‘mishandled’ is used instead of ‘lost’ because most missing bags are found (and usually pretty quickly).


How to file any air travel complaint

In 2014, the DOT received 15,532 complaints, up nearly 18 percent over the 13,000+ received in 2013. These particular complaints are only filed with the feds; others are sent directly to the airlines (or other parties such as the TSA).


Published: February 11, 2015