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

Bureau of Transportation Statistics;

he U.S. Department of Transportation today released its July 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of May 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 May 2020.

The 10 marketing network carriers reported 192,412 scheduled domestic flights in May 2020 compared to 331,238 flights in April 2020 and 694,331 flights in May 2019.  Of those 192,412 scheduled flights, 6.4%, 12,261 flights, were canceled. As a result of schedule reductions and cancellations, the carriers reported operating an all-time monthly low of 180,151 flights in May 2020, compared to 194,390 flights in April 2020 and the previous low of 370,027 in February 1994.  The 1994 reports included operational data of only operating carriers and did not include operational data of code-share partners, which are now included in the monthly reports.

A flight is listed as canceled if it was listed in a carrier’s computer reservation system during the seven calendar days prior to scheduled departure but was not operated.  Canceled flights are included in calculations of on-time arrival performance.

May On-Time Performance

In May 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 89.1%, up from both the 55.1% on-time rate in April 2020 and the 77.9% rate in May 2019.

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

  1. Spirit Airlines – 96.8%
  2. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 96.0%
  3. Frontier Airlines – 93.9%

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

  1. Allegiant Air – 37.4%
  2. JetBlue Airways – 86.4%
  3. Alaska Airlines Network – 90.6%

May Cancellations

In May 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 6.4% of their scheduled domestic flights, down from 42.0% in April 2020, the highest cancellation rate on record, but up from 2.0% in May 2019.

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

  1. Spirit Airlines – 0.0%
  2. Frontier Airlines – 0.2%
  3. Hawaiian Airlines Network – 0.3%

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

  1. Allegiant Air – 53.6%
  2. JetBlue Airways – 7.7%
  3. Southwest Airlines – 5.9%

Tarmac Delays

In May 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in April 2020 and the 44 tarmac delays reported in May 2019.  In May 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in April 2020 and seven tarmac delays in May 2019.  Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

May Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours (ATCR Table 8)

There were no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights in May.

May International Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Four Hours (ATCR Table 8A)

There were no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in May.

Mishandled Baggage

In May 2020, the reporting marketing carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.79 mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags, a lower rate than both the April 2020 rate of 4.23 per 1,000 checked bags and the May 2019 rate of 6.26 per 1,000 checked bags.

Mishandled Wheelchairs and Scooters

In May 2020, reporting marketing airlines reported checking 6,620 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 63, a rate of 0.95% mishandled, compared to the rate of 1.13% mishandled in April 2020 and 1.54% in May 2019.  In May 2019, the airlines checked 61,696 wheelchairs and scooters, mishandling 951.

Incidents Involving Animals

In May 2020, carriers reported one incident involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from the four reports filed in May 2019 and equal to the one report filed in April 2020.  The May 2020 incident involved the death of one animal. 

Complaints About Airline Service

In May 2020, DOT received 21,914 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 1,590.9 percent from the total of 1,296 filed in May 2019 and up 10.4 percent from the 19,856 received in April 2020.  Of the 21,914 complaints received in May 2020, 20,915 concerned refunds.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

In May 2020, the Department received a total of 18 disability-related complaints, down from the 76 complaints received in May 2019, but up from the 15 complaints received in April 2020.  All complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability are investigated by the Department.

Complaints About Discrimination

In May 2020, the Department received zero complaints alleging discrimination.  This is down from the total of nine discrimination complaints recorded in May 2019 and the two complaints recorded April 2020.  All complaints alleging discrimination are investigated by the Department to determine if there has been a violation(s) of the passenger’s civil rights.

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