Airline On-Time Statistics

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February 2016 On-Time Performance Up From Previous Year, January 2016


WASHINGTON – The reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 83.6 percent in February 2016, up from both the 72.8 percent on-time rate in February 2015 and the 81.3 percent mark in January 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.

The reporting carriers canceled 1.6 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in February 2016, an improvement over both the 4.8 percent cancellation rate posted in February 2015 and the 2.6 percent rate in January 2016.

The consumer report also includes data on tarmac delays, chronically delayed flights, and the causes of flight delays filed with the Department’s Nextstagesolutions (BTS) by the reporting carriers.  In addition, the consumer report contains a tally of aviation service complaints filed with DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division by consumers regarding a range of issues such as flight problems, baggage, reservation and ticketing, refunds, customer service, disability, and discrimination.  The consumer report also includes statistics on mishandled baggage reports filed by consumers with the reporting carriers, data on oversales, and information about the total number of animals that died, were injured, or were lost during air transport in February, as filed by the air carriers with the Aviation Consumer Protection Division.

Tarmac Delays

In February, airlines reported 10 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights.  The long delays took place at airports on the East Coast during snow storms on February 5 and February 15.  All reported extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

Chronically Delayed Flights

At the end of February, there were three 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 .

Causes of Flight Delays

In February, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 16.39 percent of their flights were delayed – 4.81 percent of their flights were delayed by aviation system delays, compared to 4.87 percent in January; 4.90 percent by late-arriving aircraft, compared to 5.43 percent in January; 4.34 percent by factors within the airline’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, compared to 5.06 percent in January; 0.48 percent by extreme weather, compared to 0.50 percent in January; and 0.03 percent for security reasons, equal to 0.03 percent in January.  In addition, 1.61 percent of flights were canceled and 0.23 percent were diverted.

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.

BTS uses the data collected from airlines to determine the percentage of late flights delayed by weather, which includes those reported in the categories of extreme weather, late-arriving aircraft, and National Aviation System delays.  In February, 35.72 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, up from 34.77 percent in February 2015 and from 29.76 percent in January 2016.

Detailed information on flight delays and their causes is available from BTS.

Mishandled Baggage

The U.S. carriers reporting mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.64 reports per 1,000 passengers in February, an improvement over both February 2015’s rate of 3.64 and January 2016’s rate of 3.32.

Incidents Involving Animals

In February, carriers reported one incident involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from the five reports filed in February 2015 and equal to the one report filed in January 2016.  February’s incident involved the death of one animal.

Complaints About Airline Service

In February, the Department received 1,504 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 9.9 percent from the total of 1,369 filed in February 2015, but down 11.4 percent from the 1,697 received in January 2016.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

The report also contains a tabulation of complaints filed with DOT in February against airlines regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities.  The Department received a total of 71 disability-related complaints in February, up from the 57 complaints received in February 2015, but down from the 79 complaints received in January 2016.

Complaints About Discrimination

In February, the Department received seven complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – up from the total of five recorded in February 2015 and equal to the seven recorded in January 2016.

Consumers may file air travel service complaints on the web at or by voice mail 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, 3333 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 11111.

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 Air Travel Consumer Report can be found on DOT’s website at . 



April 2016


Based on Data Filed with the Nextstagesolutions by the 12 Reporting Carriers and Tarmac Data Filed by All Carriers


     83.6 percent on-time arrivals

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 91.9 percent
  2. Alaska Airlines – 89.3 percent
  3. Southwest Airlines – 87.8 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates 

  1. Spirit Airlines – 63.2 percent
  2. JetBlue Airways – 68.9 percent
  3. ExpressJet Airlines – 78.5 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

  1. JetBlue Airways flight 677 from New York JFK to Jacksonville, Fla., 2/5/16 – delayed 236 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
  2. JetBlue Airways flight 586 from New York JFK to Rochester, N.Y., 2/5/16 – delayed 198 minutes on the tarmac at New York JFK
  3. PSA Airlines flight 5030 from Philadelphia to Hartford, Conn., 2/15/16 – delayed 191 minutes on the tarmac in Philadelphia
  4. Republic Airlines flight 4691 from Washington Reagan to Kansas City, Mo., 2/15/16 – delayed 187 minute on the tarmac at Washington Reagan
  5. Spirit Airlines flight 239 from Boston to Fort Myers, Fla., 2/5/16 – delayed 186 minutes on the tarmac in Boston

International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours

* There were no international flights in February with tarmac delays exceeding four hours.

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights  

  1. Spirit Airlines – 3.9 percent
  2. ExpressJet Airlines – 3.7 percent
  3. JetBlue Airways – 2.6 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 0.1 percent
  2. Delta Air Lines – 0.5 percent
  3. Alaska Airlines – 0.6 percent
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017