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

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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.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics;

The U.S. Department of Transportation yesterday 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 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)

Hawaiian Airlines Network – 95.5% Delta Air Lines Network – 95.1% Southwest Airlines – 94.7%

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

Allegiant Air – 85.6% American Airlines Network – 90.3% 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)

Spirit Airlines – 0.0% Frontier Airlines – 0.1% Delta Air Lines Network – 0.3%

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

Alaska Airlines Network – 3.1% Allegiant Air – 1.6% 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.

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.

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.

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.

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