Travel Industry Travel News

Airline Efficiency Rates At All-Time High

One of the challenges or frustrations felt by frequent business and leisure travelers is having their flight leave on time, or worse yet, cancelled. However, things may be looking up. It seems years of hard work for the airlines are finally coming to fruition. Reviewing the month of November 2016, typically the brunt holiday traffic, we saw the highest rate airline efficiency in decades.

According to the Department of Transportation, 86.6 percent of flights in the U.S. arrived on time during the month of November 2016. That’s a significant improvement from the previous year. In regards to cancellations, less than one-third of 1 percent from the busiest airlines had domestic flight cancellations. Making it the lowest rate since the DOT started keeping records in 1995! Also, the number of bags lost, damaged or delayed by the airlines was the lowest since the beginning of this record keeping in 1978.

Which airlines had the best scores

  • One-time arrival
    • Delta Airlines posted the best rates for on-time arrivals.
    • Hawaiian Airlines compared favorably at over 90 percent.
    • Southwest Airlines ranked seventh, with 86.1 percent of its flights arriving on time.
    • American Airlines had the eighth-best performance with 85.4 percent.
    • The lowest on the list was Virgin America at 81.4 percent.
  • Regarding cancellation of flights,
    • Delta had no cancelled flights during the month of November, but instead diverted flights to other airports.
    • Alaska, Frontier, Hawaiian and Virgin America canceled fewer than 20 flights each with far fewer diversions than Delta last November.
  • Lost/Damaged bags
    • Overall the airlines reported approximately two mishandled bags for every 1,000 passengers.
    • Virgin America and Alaska had the best rates of bag handling.
    • ExpressJet and Frontier had the worst rates.
Travel News

There’s A New Sheriff In Town!

In case you hadn’t noticed and honestly how many of us really pay attention to such things, there is a new sheriff in town, okay, maybe not a sheriff but the Department of Transportation (DoT) has certainly made some big changes in the way it does business.  In the past year, it has handed out more fines to the airline industry than it had in any of the previous 5 years.  Most of the fines were levied for violations relating to safety and advertising, yes, the DoT has been after the airlines to tell the truth in their ads.  You know the ads that say fly from New York City to Honolulu for $99.00* one way.  And when you finally find the information listed under the asterisk it has something about based on a round trip fare, plus taxes, fees and surcharges.  Late last year the DoT fined United for misleading advertising and they just caught them again.  So what you say, well, I have to agree with you to a degree, the amounts aren’t big enough to really hurt however I think that they are an indication of which way the wind is blowing.
If that were the only thing happening at the DoT, I wouldn’t be too excited about it.  The really big change is their approach to consumer complaints.  This website allows consumers to file an electronic complaint with the DoT instead of sending one in via the mail. It also has links to allow you to review the monthly data about the airlines performance, or the contact information for each airlines customer relations manager or my favorite one, instructions on how to take an airline to small claims court. This one is especially interesting since the airlines have always maintained that they are immune from action in anything but Federal Court because they are covered by the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. With the Federal Government saying that it’s okay to take them to small claims court I have to wonder what the result will be.
What does all of this mean for you, the traveler? I think the biggest thing is that the DoT has become a little more consumer friendly and less aloof and removed from what impacts the individual consumer.  This should lead to a better balance between the airline industry and the consumer.