WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today released its June 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on reporting marketing and operating air carrier data compiled for the month of April 2020. The full consumer report and other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at http://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer.
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 April 2020.
The 10 marketing network carriers reported 331,238 scheduled domestic flights in April 2020 compared to 701,278 flights in March 2020 and 668,259 flights in April 2019. Of those 331,238 scheduled flights, 41.3% were canceled, resulting in an on-time arrival rate of 55.7%, the lowest monthly on-time arrival performance since reporting began in 1987. Also, the carriers reported operating an all-time monthly low of 194,390 flights in April 2020, compared to a 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.
April On-Time Performance
In April 2020, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 55.7%, the lowest monthly on-time arrival rate since reporting of on-time numbers began in 1987. The previous monthly low was 62.7% in both January 1996 and December 2000. More recently, the April 2020 rate was down from both the 74.7% on-time rate in March 2020 and from the 79.8% in April 2019. See April Daily Flights for scheduled flights by marketing network by month.
Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates April 2020 (ATCR Table 1)
- Hawaiian Airlines Network – 80.9%
- Alaska Airlines Network – 77.3%
- Spirit Airlines – 74.6%
Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates April 2020 (ATCR Table 1)
- Allegiant Air – 10.4%
- Southwest Airlines – 47.0%
- Frontier Airlines – 49.6%
In April 2020, reporting marketing carriers canceled 41.3% of their scheduled domestic flights, the highest monthly rate on record. The previous high was 20.2% in September 2001, the month of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The third highest cancellation rate was 16.9% in March 2020. In comparison, the April 2019 cancellation rate was 2.4%.
Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights April 2020 (ATCR Table 6)
- Hawaiian Airlines Network – 17.6%
- Spirit Airlines – 19.8%
- Alaska Airlines Network – 20.3%
Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights April 2020 (ATCR Table 6)
- Allegiant Air – 84.7%
- Southwest Airlines – 51.6%
- Frontier Airlines – 47.7%
In April 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to one tarmac delay reported in March 2020 and the 29 tarmac delays reported in April 2019. In April 2020, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to no tarmac delays reported in March 2020 and one tarmac delay in April 2019. Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.
April 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 April.
April 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 April.
In April 2020, the reporting marketing carriers posted a mishandled baggage rate of 4.23 mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags, a lower rate than both the March 2020 rate of 4.41 per 1,000 checked bags and the April 2019 rate of 5.57 per 1,000 checked bags.
See the June 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for mishandled baggage numbers by airline.
Mishandled Wheelchairs and Scooters
In April 2020, reporting marketing airlines reported checking 2,927 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 33, a rate of 1.13% mishandled, compared to the rate of 1.28% mishandled in March 2020 and 1.35% in April 2019. In April 2019, the airlines checked 54,637 wheelchairs and scooters, mishandling 737.
See the June 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for mishandled wheelchair and scooter numbers by airline.
Bumping/oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly. First quarter 2020 bumping/oversales data were released in the May 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report. Second quarter 2020 bumping/oversales data will be available in the August 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report.
See the May 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report for denied boarding numbers by airline.
Incidents Involving Animals
In April 2020, carriers reported one incident involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, equal to the one report filed in both April 2019 and in March 2020. The April incident involved injury to one animal.
Complaints About Airline Service
In April 2020, DOT received 19,856 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 1,546.4 percent from the total of 1,206 filed in April 2019 and up 292.1 percent from the 5,064 received in March 2020. Of the 19,856 complaints received in April 2020, 17,387 concerned refunds.
Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers
In April 2020, the Department received a total of 15 disability-related complaints, down from both the 81 complaints received in April 2019 and the 34 complaints received in March 2020. All complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability are investigated by the Department.
Complaints About Discrimination
In April 2020, the Department received two complaints alleging discrimination – both regarding race. This is down from the total of five discrimination complaints recorded in April 2019 and the six complaints recorded March 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.
Consumers may file air travel consumer or civil rights complaints online at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm. They may also mail a complaint to the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, W96-432, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C. 20590.