Airlines – What They Get Right and Wrong

The Department of Transportation has released its latest statistics on airline performance; in some cases, the numbers compare the first six months of 2016 with the first six of last year while others compare June 2016 with June 2015. Here’s what we know.

What Airlines Get Right

Consumer Complaints

Down 12+% from these periods:

  • Jan. to June, 2015 – 9,542 complaints
  • Jan. to June, 2016 – 8,376 complaints

How to file a complaint

Cancelled Flights

Cancelled flights down 1.8%, June 2015 to June 2016. Best and worst for cancellations in June 2016:

  • Highest rates: ExpressJet, Spirit and Southwest
  • Lowest rates: Delta, Frontier and Hawaiian

On-time arrivals

A nice improvement

  • On-time flights, June 2015 – 74.8%
  • On-time flights, June 2016 – 78.0%

Best and worst airlines for punctuality in June 2016:

  • Highest on-time arrival rates: Hawaiian, Alaska and SkyWest
  • Lowest on-time arrival rates: American, Virgin America and Spirit

Lost Luggage

The airlines refer to this as mishandled baggage and the figures are the rate of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers.

  • June 2015 – 3.47
  • June 2016 – 2.82

And the best and worst were for June 2016:

  • Most lost bags: ExpressJet, American and SkyWest
  • Fewest lost bags: Virgin America, Alaska and JetBlue

What Airlines Get Wrong

As you can see, an improvement in all of the above categories was seen year-over-year. However, the airlines did worse in all categories when comparing May 2016 statistics with June’s. It appears the airline industry still has a ways to go.

See more of the DOT statistics here.


Updated: August 19, 2016