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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Air Travel Consumer Report: September 2020 and 3rd Quarter 2020 Numbers

Friday, December 11, 2020
Date: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today released its November 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of September 2020.  The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency has resulted in significant changes to airline schedules and operations, contributing to airlines’ on-time performance and cancellation statistics in September 2020 and 3rd Quarter 2020.

The 10 marketing network carriers reported 345,294 scheduled domestic flights in September 2020 compared to 398,470 flights in August 2020 and 660,712 flights in September 2019. Of those 345,294 scheduled flights, 0.7%, 2,523 flights, were canceled. As a result of schedule reductions and cancellations, the carriers reported operating 342,771 flights in September 2020, compared to 394,143 flights in August 2020 and the all-time monthly low of 180,151 flights in May 2020.

A flight is listed as canceled if it was listed in a carrier’s computer reservation system during the seven calendar days prior to a scheduled departure but was not operated.  Canceled flights are included in calculations of on-time arrival performance.

 

 

September On-Time Performance

In September 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 92.9%, the highest  monthly on-time performance on record, up from both the 91.0% on-time rate in August 2020 and the 84.1% rate in September 2019.

For the first nine months of 2020, the reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 82.9%, compared to the rate of 78.1% during the same period last year.

Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates September 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

  1. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 95.5%
  2. Delta Air Lines Network – 95.1%
  3. Southwest Airlines – 94.7%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates September 2020 (ATCR Table 1)

  1. Allegiant Air – 85.6%
  2. American Airlines Network – 90.3%
  3. Alaska Airlines Network – 90.9%

September Cancellations

In September 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 0.7% of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate than both 1.1% in August 2020 and 1.7% in September 2019.

For the first nine months of 2020, the reporting marketing carriers posted a cancellation rate of 7.6%, compared to the rate of 2.2% during the same period last year.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights September 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

  1. Spirit Airlines – 0.0%
  2. Frontier Airlines – 0.1%
  3. Delta Air Lines Network – 0.3%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights September 2020 (ATCR Table 6)

  1. Alaska Airlines Network – 3.1%
  2. Allegiant Air – 1.6%
  3. JetBlue Airways – 0.9%

Tarmac Delays

In September 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to five tarmac delays reported in August 2020 and 11 tarmac delays reported in September 2019.  In September 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to two tarmac delays reported in August 2020 and no tarmac delays in September 2019.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

Mishandled Baggage

In September 2020, the reporting marketing carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.93 mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags, a lower rate than the August 2020 rate of 3.01 per 1,000 checked bags and the September 2019 rate of 4.70 per 1,000 checked bags. For the first nine months of the year, the carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 4.28 per 1,000 checked bags, a lower rate than the 6.00 per 1,000 checked bags rate for the same period last year.

See the November 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for mishandled baggage numbers by airline.

Mishandled Wheelchairs and Scooters

In September 2020, reporting marketing airlines reported checking 18,569 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 240, a rate of 1.29% mishandled, compared to the rate of 1.20% mishandled in August 2020 and 1.32% in September 2019. In August 2019, the airlines checked 62,791 wheelchairs and scooters, mishandling 995. For the first nine months of the year, the carriers posted a mishandled wheelchair and scooter rate of 1.31%, a lower rate than the 1.62% rate for the same period last year.

See the November 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for mishandled wheelchair and scooter numbers by airline.

Bumping/Oversales

Bumping/oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly.  For the third quarter of 2020, the 10 U.S. reporting marketing carriers posted an involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, rate of 0.17 per 10,000 passengers, higher than the rate of 0.15 in the second quarter of 2020 but lower than the rate of 0.19 in the third quarter of 2019.

For the first nine months of 2020, the marketing carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.13 per 10,000 passengers, lower than the 0.27 rate for the same period last year.

See the November 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for denied boarding numbers by airline.

Incidents Involving Animals

In September 2020, carriers reported no incidents involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from the three reports filed in September 2019 and equal to the zero reports filed in August 2020.

Airline consumer complaint numbers updated Dec. 11, 2020 

Complaints About Airline Service

In September 2020, DOT received 5,764 complaints about airline service from consumers, down 24.7% from the 7,657 received in August 2020 and up 357.8% from the total of 1,259 filed in September 2019. 

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

In September 2020, the Department received a total of 44 disability-related complaints, down from both the 66 complaints received in September 2019 and the 67 complaints received in August 2020.

Complaints About Discrimination

In September 2020, the Department received four complaints alleging discrimination – all regarding race.  This is down from the 11 complaints recorded in September 2019, but up from the one complaint received in August 2020. 

All complaints alleging discrimination are investigated to determine if there has been a violation(s) of the passenger’s civil rights.

 

Consumers may file air travel consumer or civil rights complaints online at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm.  They may also mail a complaint to the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, W96-432, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C. 20590. 

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