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Airlines Performance Improving
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As much as people enjoy taking advantage of cheap travel options, such as cheap airplane tickets, and cheap vacation packages, some passengers have found reason to complain in the past.
A recent report from U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released shows that the airlines are improving their on-time performance at the same time that airline customer complaints are declining.
The airlines improved their on-time performance in September to 83.8 percent of domestic flights vs. 83.3 percent the prior year.
September’s performance was better than July and August, when summer travelers filled planes and about 25 percent of flights arrived late.
Hawaiian Airlines came in first, with 95 percent of its flights arriving within 14 minutes of schedule. Of the 16 reporting airlines, Southwest Airlines turned in the worst performance, with only 76 percent of its flights arriving on time.
A little less than 1 percent of flights were canceled in September, a slight increase from a year earlier.
Three September flights appear to have violated federal rules regarding excessive runway delays. Two were operated by United Airlines and one by Spirit Airlines.
DOT fined United $1.1 million in October for leaving passengers on 13 planes, with no opportunity to exit, during a long weather delay in Chicago in July 2012. To date, this is the largest fine recorded for extended runway delays.
Passengers are recording fewer airline complaints. Through September of this year complaints filed with DOT are 14 percent less than in 2012.
During the first nine months of the year the rate bags were lost, damaged, or delayed rose slightly from the prior year. Virgin America turned in the best handling rate with American Eagle performing worst.
In the third quarter airlines involuntarily bumped a little more than 11,700 passengers, a decrease of 24 percent from the same period last year. Approximately 109,000 passengers voluntarily gave up their seats. To induce passengers to voluntarily leave oversold planes, airlines often offer travel vouchers.
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