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FAQs: New Air Travel Consumer Report

Q. What is new about the Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR)?

A. The ATCR, for the first time since its inception more than 30 years ago, contains data on domestic flights that are marketed by the mainline carriers, but operated by the mainline carriers’ regional codeshare affiliates.

Q. What are mainline carriers?

A. Mainline carriers, in addition to operating their own flights, contract with other airlines, known as code-share partners, who operate flights under the mainline carriers’ brand. There are currently five such mainline carriers:

  • Alaska Airlines (marketing brand – Alaska Horizon)
  • American Airlines (marketing brand – American Eagle)
  • Delta Air Lines (marketing brand – Delta Connection)
  • Hawaiian Airlines (marketing brand –Ohana by Hawaiian)
  • United Airlines (marketing brand – United Express)

Q. What airlines now report on-time and oversales data to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)?

A. On-time and oversales data continues to be reported by carriers with at least one-half of one percent of the total scheduled-service domestic passenger revenue for domestic flights they operate. There are currently 17 reporting carriers that report on-time and oversales data:  Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Endeavor, Envoy, ExpressJet, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Mesa, PSA, Republic, SkyWest, Southwest, Spirit, and United.

In addition, the reporting carriers that market flights operated by their regional code-share partners under their brand (currently Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian and United) are required to report on-time and oversales numbers for their regional code-share partners. The ATCR will show these numbers as the mainline carrier’s network.

Q. Will U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) continue to provide the numbers for operating carriers even if they operate under the brand of mainline carriers?

A. The ATCR and the BTS website will show numbers for flights operated by the reporting carriers as well as flights that the reporting carrier market that are operated by their regional code-share partners.

Q. Why did USDOT require the change in reporting?

A. Branded codeshare partners account for more than one-fourth of the passengers carried and more than half of the domestic flights. With this new ATCR, the flying public will see a more complete picture of the performance of scheduled passenger service, which will make the report even more useful to consumers.  See the 2016 final rule: Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0056

Q. Has USDOT required the marketing carriers to report mishandled baggage report numbers for their code-share affiliates?

A. The mishandled baggage data submitted by U.S. airlines must include data not only for flights that they operate but also for flights sold under their brand that are operated by other carriers beginning on  Jan. 1, 2019

Also, beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, the pool of U.S. airlines that must report mishandled baggage to the Department will expand from U.S. carriers that account for 1 percent of total annual scheduled domestic passenger revenue to 0.5 percent. The reporting carriers will also be required to change the way they report mishandled bags to the Department.  Instead of reporting mishandled baggage reports compared to passenger enplanements, airlines will be reporting number of mishandled bags compared to the number of checked bags.  In addition, airlines will also be required to report separately for the first time the number of mishandled wheelchairs and scooters.

Q. Is there more information available on the ATCR changes?

A. See the USDOT webinar: USDOT Air Travel Consumer Report Overview  

Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2018