Consumer Complaints Rise Against Nation’s Airlines for 2014

September On-Time Performance Down after FAA Fire

By Robert Waldner on 7 November 2014
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JetBlue was third in September for on-time arrivals

JetBlue was third in September for on-time arrivals

More customers filed complaints about the nation’s airlines in the first nine months of 2014 as compared to the same period in 2013, according to figures released by the Department of Transportation in its Air Travel Consumer Report. In addition, the department released on-time performance figures for the month of September, showing a small decline.

The agency received 12,350 consumer complaints as compared to 10,444 during the first nine months of 2013, an increase of 18.2%. Complaints for September were up 14.2%, with 1,157 complaints received as compared to 1,013 in September 2013.

Airline flights in the United States brought fewer passengers to their destinations on time in September, having an on-time arrival rate of 81.1% as compared to 83.8% from September 2013. It was nonetheless an improvement of the 77.7% on-time arrival rate from August 2014, however.

The report found that airlines cancelled 1.4% of their domestic flights as well, up 0.5 percentage points from the previous September. Many of the cancelations were due to the fire that occurred at the FAA Chicago En Route Center in Aurora, Illinois. The fire caused 6,600 flight cancelations from September 26 to October 13 and September alone saw 4,500 cancelations.

Airlines 4 America, an industry trade group, reacted swiftly to the September numbers, saying it “disingenuous at best” for the agency to report the figures without noting the fire in its report.

However, Hawaiian Airlines led the pack of airlines with the best on-time performance and fewest cancelations in September. The airline arrived on schedule 90.8% of the time and had flight cancelations down to 0.1%. Alaska Airlines followed with an 87.2% on-time arrival rate and JetBlue was third with an 86.1% on-time arrival rate.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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