on-time performance of U.S. domestic airlines in 2006 fell to its
lowest level since 2000, in a decline that has been gradual since
The performance in
this service category has, of course, varied by airline. But the
overall trend has not been positive.
In 2002, 82.1% of
domestic flights arrived within 15 minutes of schedule, which is
how the Transportation Department defines "on time." But that was
the peak for this decade; on-time performance has declined every
In 2005, flights were
on time 77.4% of the time. In 2006, the percentage fell to
Several reasons have
been given for the decline, including severe weather, the rising
demand for air travel and the increased use of regional jets in
place of larger aircraft.
Delays also increased
precipitously in 2000, when air travel demand was at a peak; the
performance improved when traffic declined amid a recession and
following the 9/11 attacks.
baggage-handling performance also has continued to deteriorate. The
mishandled baggage rate rose from 6.64 reports per 1,000 passengers
in 2005 to 6.73 in 2006. In 2000 the rate was 5.29, and it fell to
as low as 3.84 in 2002 before starting its steady rise.
One of the reasons
given for this year's problems is the increase in the amount of
checked baggage after new restrictions were placed on carry-on
liquids in August.
boardings, or bumpings, rose from 0.88 per 10,000 passengers in
2005 to 1.01 in 2006.
On the other hand,
U.S. airlines canceled a lower percentage of flights (1.71%) than
in 2004 and 2005, and the number of consumer complaints to the DOT
about U.S. airline service fell from 6,900 in 2005 to 6,448 in
In 2000, the DOT
received more than 20,000 complaints.