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Thread: US Airlines On-Time Drops to 79%. What Gives?


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    Default US Airlines On-Time Drops to 79%. What Gives?

    Summer travelers should pack plenty of patience: More flights are running late this year than in 2012.
    The U.S. Department of Transportation says that only 79.4 percent of domestic flights arrived on time in May, down from 83.4 percent in the same month last year.
    Hawaiian Airlines was most likely to arrive on-time, while American Eagle, the regional-flying affiliate of American Airlines, had the worst rate.
    Five planes were stuck on airport tarmacs for more than three hours, which is longer than allowed by federal regulations. Cancelations ticked up slightly from a year ago.
    In the last five years, mergers have reduced the number of U.S. airlines and flights, which should help the carriers stay on schedule. But flights are extremely full - average occupancy on all the major U.S. airlines topped 85 percent in June - which means it can take longer for passengers to get on and off the plane.


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    average occupancy on all the major U.S. airlines topped 85 percent in June - which means it can take longer for passengers to get on and off the plane


    Yep. Plus the compound effect of cancellations takes hold. If the average flight is 85% full, it's hard to re-route pax onto other flights. Then you end up with pandemonium at the gate for the next flight to the same destination, which makes the flight late, which then potentially creates more downstream delays.

    From my perspective, it's all driven by the relative flatness in airfares over time. Over the last 15 years or so, costs are up for airlines, especially wages and fuel. Fares, however, are flat (relative to inflation). Less margin means they have to make money somehow, which turns into unpleasant things like baggage fees, change fees, etc...and of course, higher load factors.

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