U.S. Airlines Were Tardy, Bumped More Passengers And Lost A Bunch Of Bags In 2014

There’s bad news, and then there’s the slightly less bad news: In 2014, passengers suffered as airlines were on-time less often, lost bags at a higher rate and bumped more people than the year before. But at least airlines canceled fewer flights, and there were fewer lengthy delays leaving travelers stranded on the tarmac, so there’s that.

According to data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation today, airlines were on time (within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival) 72.6% of the time last year, down from 78.3% in 2013, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The major players didn’t do so well out of the dozen carriers that report to the DOT: American Airlines was sixth, United Airlines came in seventh and Southwest Airlines ranked 10th on the rolls of most punctual. Delta was the sole large carrier to come in among the top at No. 3.

The most on-time flights went to Hawaiian Airlines, with Envoy at the very bottom.

As for personal belongings, airlines lost 3.62 bags per every 1,000 passengers, an uptick from 3.22 bags the year before. And more passengers got the boot from flights, with 0.92 involuntary denied boardings per 10,000 passengers, an increase from 0.9 the year before.

Passengers didn’t suffer their gripes quietly, either, filing a total of 11,364 complaints against U.S. airlines, up 17.3% from 2013. Frontier Airlines garnered the worst complaint rates along with United Airlines, while the fewest complaints per 100,000 passengers were about Alaska and Southwest.

However, lengthy tarmac delays were at their lowest in the last five years since larger fines were adopted: 30 domestic flights had tarmac delays longer than three hours in 2014, with nine international flights delayed more than four hours.

In 2009, the last full year before the new fines went into effect, a whopping 868 domestic flights had lengthy delays. Even in 2013, there were more than twice as many lengthy delays than last year, with 84 domestic and 55 international that year.

“These tarmac delay rules are meant to protect passengers, and it appears that the airlines have gotten the message,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “We have aggressively enforced, and will continue to aggressively enforce, our tarmac delay rules.”

U.S. airlines less on time, lose more bags in 2014 [Chicago Tribune]

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