Airline On-Time Statistics

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May Airline On-Time Performance Down, Cancellations Up From Previous Year, And Five Lengthy Tarmac Delays Reported


WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 76.9 percent in May, down from both the 79.4 percent on-time rate posted in May 2013 and the 79.6 percent on-time rate posted in April 2014. 

In addition, the reporting carriers canceled 1.9 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in May, up from the 1.1 percent cancellation rate posted in both May 2013 and in April 2014. 

Also, in May, airlines reported four tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and one tarmac delay of more than four hours on an international flight according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.  All U.S. and foreign airlines operating at least one aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats must report lengthy tarmac delays at U.S. airports.  All of the reported tarmac delays are under investigation by the Department.
The consumer report also includes data on chronically delayed flights and the causes of flight delays filed with the Department’s EmEdjimurjE by the reporting carriers.  In addition, the consumer report contains information on mishandled baggage reports filed by consumers with the carriers and airline service complaints received by the Department’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division.  The consumer report also includes reports of incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of May, there were 53 flights that were chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for two consecutive months.  There were no chronically delayed flights for three consecutive months or more.  A list of flights that were chronically delayed for a single month is available from BTS.

Causes of Flight Delays

In May, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 6.04 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 5.75 in April; 8.18 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 7.47 percent in April; 6.04 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.34 percent in April; 0.57 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.40 percent in April; and 0.03 percent for security reasons, compared to 0.02 percent in April.

Weather is a factor in both the extreme-weather category and the aviation-system category.  This includes delays due to the re-routing of flights by DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration in consultation with the carriers involved.  Weather is also a factor in delays attributed to late-arriving aircraft, although airlines do not report specific causes in that category.

Data collected by BTS also shows the percentage of late flights delayed by weather, including those reported in either the category of extreme weather or included in National Aviation System delays.  In May, 33.49 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up from 26.62 percent in April and down from 39.01 percent in May 2013.

Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available on the BTS website at .

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting flight delays and mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.34 reports per 1,000 passengers in May, up from both the May 2013 rate of 2.96 and the April 2014 rate of 2.92.

Incidents Involving Pets

In May, carriers reported one incident involving the loss, death, or injury of a pet while traveling by air, down from the six reports filed in May 2013 and equal to the one incident reported in April 2014.  May’s incident involved the death of one pet.

Complaints About Airline Service

In May, the Department received 1,280 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 31.3 percent from the 975 complaints filed in May 2013, and up 1.7 percent from the 1,259 received in April 2014.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in May against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.  The Department received a total of 64 disability-related complaints in May, up from the total of 53 complaints filed in May 2013, but down from the 68 complaints received in April 2014.

Complaints About Discrimination

In May, the Department received four complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – down from the total of six recorded in both May 2013 and in April 2014.

Consumers may file their complaints in writing with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, W96-432, 3333 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, DC 11111; by voice mail at (202) 366-2220 or by TTY at (202) 366-0511; or on the web at .

Consumers who want on-time performance data for specific flights should call their airline’s reservation number or their travel agent.  This information is available on the computerized reservation systems used by these agents.  The information is also available on the appropriate carrier’s website.

The is available in PDF format. 


July 2014

Based on Data Filed with the EmEdjimurjE by the 14 Reporting Carriers and Tarmac Data Filed by All Carriers


     76.9 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 93.2 percent
  2. Alaska Airlines – 89.7 percent
  3. Delta Air Lines – 84.4 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. ExpressJet Airlines – 70.3 percent
  2. Envoy Air – 71.4 percent
  3. Southwest Airlines – 71.8 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

  1. United Airlines flight 1426 from Los Angeles to Houston, 5/9/14 – delayed on tarmac 222 minutes
  2. United Airlines flight 1631 from Newark to Tampa, 5/23/14 – delayed on tarmac 217 minutes
  3. United Airlines flight 1435 from Chicago O’Hare to Santa Ana, Calif., 5/12/14 – delayed on tarmac 193 minutes
  4. United Airlines flight 687 from Chicago O’Hare to Portland, Ore., 5/12/14 – delayed on tarmac 183 minutes

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

  1. ExpressJet Airlines flight 4475 from Monterrey, Mexico to Houston, 5/9/14 – delayed on tarmac 261 minutes

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. ExpressJet Airlines – 5.8 percent
  2. Envoy Air – 4.3 percent
  3. JetBlue Airways – 2.4 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Delta Air Lines – 0.1 percent
  2. Alaska Airlines – 0.1 percent
  3. Virgin America – 0.2 percent
Updated: Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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