Was your holiday air travel uneventful and on time? – or were you unfortunate to suffer from delays, cancellations, baggage problems or even being bumped off?

The US Bureau of Transportation publishes some very interesting statistics on the performance of our airlines. In this article we examine a few of the published figures and leave you to decide – How Good Are Our Airlines? A word of warning. As Chaucer once said ” There are lies, dammed lies and Statistics!” These figures are those reported in June 2008.


The overall causes of delays, with percentages, are published  as follows:

Delays and cancellations attributable to National Aviation Systems such as Air Traffic Control, traffic volume. airport operations and non extreme weather – 10.16%

Late arriving aircraft. Previous flight with same aircraft causing late departure – 8.86%

Air Carrier Delay caused  by circumstance within the airline’s control. Maintenance or crew problems – 6.78%

Cancellations – 1.80%

Extreme Weather – 1.14%

Diverted Aircraft – 0.37%

Security Delay – 0.05%

Mishandled Baggage

Did you have any problems with lost or delayed luggage? In June 2008, US Airlines received a total of 281,404 baggage reports from 54,674,153 enplaned passengers in the domestic US area, giving  an overall rate of 5.15 reports per 1000 passengers. American Eagle Airlines appear to have the worst record both in 2007 and 2008.

Bumped Off

In the period April to June 2008 there were 158,249 Voluntary Bumpings (Passengers receiving compensation for over sales) 15049 Involuntary Bumpings from a total of 151,843,987 enplaned passengers giving a rate of 1.00 per 1000.

Did you have reason to complain?

These could include Flight Problems, Overbooking, Boarding, Refunds, Baggage, Customer Service, Disabilities or Discrimination. In June 2008, US Airlines, Foreign Airlines, Travel Agents, Tour Operators and others generated 881 complaints, down from 1097 in June
2007. Flight delays and baggage problems received the most complaints.

On a sad note. Airlines in June 2008, reported the deaths of three animals and the loss of one animal in transit.

Finally, in the US, arrivals on time ranged from 98.2% by Hawaiian Airlines to 58.8% by American Airlines, giving an overall punctuality figure of 70.8%

Based on the above we leave you to decide on how good you feel are our airlines. Whatever your opinion we wish you a safe and complaint free flight.

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