U.S. Air Travel Consumer Report: October 2020 Numbers

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The 10 marketing network carriers reported 374,538 scheduled domestic flights in October 2020 compared to 345,294 flights in September 2020 and 692,944 flights in October 2019.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics;

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 October 2020.

ExpressJet Airlines ceased operations on Sept. 30, 2020 and no longer reports Airline Service Quality Performance Data to DOT.

The 10 marketing network carriers reported 374,538 scheduled domestic flights in October 2020 compared to 345,294 flights in September 2020 and 692,944 flights in October 2019. Of those 374,538 scheduled flights, 0.5%, 1,994 flights, were canceled. As a result of schedule reductions and cancellations, the carriers reported operating 372,544 flights in October 2020, compared to 342,771 flights in September 2020 and the all-time monthly low of 180,151 flights in May 2020. Airlines operated 686,811 flights in October 2019.

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.

October On-Time Performance

In October 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 90.9%, down from the 92.9% on-time rate in September 2020 but up from 82.2% in October 2019.

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

Southwest Airlines – 95.2% Delta Air Lines Network – 93.4% Alaska Airlines Network – 91.9%

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

Hawaiian Airlines Network – 71.6% Allegiant Air – 81.1% American Airlines Network – 87.3%

October Cancellations

In October 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 0.5% of their scheduled domestic flights, a lower rate than both 0.7% in September 2020 and 0.9% in October 2019.

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

Spirit Airlines – 0.0% Delta Air Lines Network – 0.1% JetBlue Airways – 0.2%

Note: Spirit Airlines canceled two flights in October.

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

Hawaiian Airlines Network – 23.5% Allegiant Air – 0.8% United Airlines Network – 0.7%

Tarmac Delays

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

Mishandled Baggage

In October 2020, the reporting marketing carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 3.52 mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags, a higher rate than the September 2020 rate of 2.93 per 1,000 checked bags but lower than the October 2019 rate of 4.77 per 1,000 checked bags.

Mishandled Wheelchairs and Scooters

In October 2020, reporting marketing airlines reported checking 22,019 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 285, a rate of 1.29% mishandled, equal to the rate of 1.29% mishandled in September 2020 and 1.29% in October 2019. In October 2019, the airlines checked 70,976 wheelchairs and scooters, mishandling 913.

Bumping/Oversales

Bumping/oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly. Third quarter 2020 bumping/oversales data were released in the November 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report.  Fourth quarter and full year 2020 bumping/oversales data will be available in the February 2021 Air Travel Consumer Report.

Incidents Involving Animals

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

Complaints About Airline Service

Though the number of air travel service complaints and inquiries that the Department has received against airlines and ticket agents has decreased since peaking in May 2020, the Department continues to receive a high volume of complaints and inquiries given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on air travel.  The Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection is continuing to work diligently to process the large number of complaints and inquiries that the Department receives.  Nevertheless, the issuance of the Department’s Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) has been delayed during recent months because of the time needed to review and process consumer complaints.  To prevent a delay in release of the ATCR, this ATCR does not contain information about the number and types of air travel service complaints and inquiries received by the Department.

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