U.S. Air Travel Consumer Report

Air Travel Consumer Report: October 2018

A man at a departure gate
Air Travel Consumer Report: October 2018

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today released its December 2018 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on marketing and reporting air carrier data compiled for the month of October 2018. 

In October 2018, marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 82.3 percent, up from the 81.9 percent on-time rate in September 2018. On-time numbers for marketing carriers were not reported in previous years.

Graph - Air Travel Consumer Report: October 2018

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

  1. Spirit Airlines – 89.0 percent
  2. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 88.5 percent
  3. Delta Air Lines Network – 87.1 percent

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

  1. Frontier Airlines – 68.2 percent
  2. JetBlue Airways – 78.8 percent
  3. Alaska Airlines Network – 79.3 percent

In October 2018, reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 82.6 percent, up from the 82.2 percent on-time rate in September 2018 and down from 84.8 percent in October 2017. 

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

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 91.0 percent
  2. Delta Air Lines – 90.0 percent
  3. Spirit Airlines – 89.0 percent

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

  1. Frontier Airlines – 68.2 percent
  2. Mesa Airlines – 73.0 percent
  3. ExpressJet Airlines – 75.5 percent

October Cancellations

In October 2018, marketing carriers canceled 0.8 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate than 1.5 percent in September 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 – 0.2 percent
  2. Spirit Airlines – 0.2 percent
  3. Allegiant Airlines – 0.3 percent

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

  1. Frontier Airlines – 1.7 percent
  2. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 1.6 percent
  3. American Airlines Network – 1.5 percent

In October 2018, reporting carriers canceled 0.7 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate than 1.4 percent in September 2018 and equal to 0.7 percent in October 2017.

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

  1. Delta Air Lines – 0.1 percent
  2. United Airlines – 0.1 percent
  3. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.2 percent

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

  1. Mesa Airlines – 2.8 percent
  2. ExpressJet Airlines – 2.1 percent
  3. Envoy Air – 2.0 percent

Tarmac Delays

In October 2018, airlines reported two tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, a significant decrease from the 11 such tarmac delays reported in September 2018, and no tarmac delays reported in October 2017.  In October 2018, airlines reported one tarmac delay of more than four hours on international flights, compared to two such tarmac delays reported in September 2018 and two tarmac delays reported in October 2017.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

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

  1. American Airlines flight 1280 from Phoenix to New York JFK, 10/7/18 – delayed 3 hours and 7 minutes on the tarmac at Lubbock, Texas, after being diverted
  2. Delta Air Lines flight 3648 (operated by codeshare partner SkyWest Airlines) from New York LaGuardia to Milwaukee, 10/2/18 – delayed 3 hours and 2 minutes on the tarmac at New York LaGuardia

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

  1. United Airlines flight 47 from Frankfurt, Germany to Houston Bush, 10/31/18 – delayed 4 hours and 45 minutes on the tarmac at New Orleans after being diverted

Mishandled Baggage

In October 2018, the reporting carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.35 reports per 1,000 passengers, a lower rate than 2.44 in September 2018, but up from October 2017’s rate of 2.04. 

Bumping/Oversales

Bumping/oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly.  Third quarter 2018 bumping/oversales data were released in the November 2018 Air Travel Consumer Report.  Full year 2018 and fourth quarter 2018 bumping/oversales data will be available in the February 2019 Air Travel Consumer Report.

Incidents Involving Animals

In October 2018, U.S. airlines reported no incidents involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from the five reports filed in October 2017 and the one report filed in September 2018.

Complaints About Airline Service

In October 2018, DOT received 1,242 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 4.6 percent from the total of 1,187 filed in October 2017 and down 5.1 percent from the 1,309 received in September 2018. 

Of the 1,242 complaints about airline service that DOT received in October 2018, one complaint involved an allegation of in-flight sexual assault.  The Department forwards complaints that it receives regarding in-flight sexual assault to the airline and directs the airline to respond directly to the consumer.  The Department also monitors the matter to ensure that the airline provides a response to the consumer as required.  Because the nature of the complaint involves potentially criminal conduct, the Department encourages consumers to contact an FBI field office to investigate the incident and provides consumers information to identify the FBI field office nearest to them.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

In October 2018, the Department received a total of 68 disability-related complaints, up from both the 66 complaints received in October 2017 and the 48 complaints received in September 2018.  All complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability are investigated.

Complaints About Discrimination

In October 2018, the Department received 10 complaints alleging discrimination – four regarding race, three regarding national origin, and three regarding sex.  This is a slight increase from the total of eight discrimination complaints reported in October 2017 and the seven reported in September 2018.  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.



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