WASHINGTON — The government says flights were on-time more often in November than a year earlier, and only one U.S. passenger plane was stuck on the ground for more than three hours.
The Transportation Department said Thursday that 85.3 percent of flights landed within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival times, which is the government’s definition of being on time.
That’s better than the airlines’ 83.2 percent performance in November 2010 but slightly worse than October’s 85.5 percent rating.
Hawaiian Airlines, Delta and Southwest had the best on-time ratings. ExpressJet, SkyWest and American Airlines had the worst ratings. ExpressJet and SkyWest operate regional feeder flights for bigger airlines.
A Nov. 30 American Airlines flight from New York to Los Angeles was stuck on the ground in Ontario, Calif., for more than three hours, in violation of a 2010 regulation under which airlines could face hefty fines for long delays. In October, there were 33 such delays, all of them caused by an early snow storm in the Northeast.
A China Airlines jet going from Taiwan to Los Angeles on Nov. 30 was stuck more than four hours after it — like the American flight the same day — was diverted to Ontario, Calif. The delay exceeded the government’s longer time limit for international flights.
Fewer than 1 percent of all flights were canceled in November, matching the rate of November 2010 and slightly below the October 2011 rate.
Consumer complaints against airlines were higher in November than a year ago but still rare — one for every 100,000 passengers. Mesa Airlines and Southwest had the lowest complaint rates, while United Airlines and US Airways were the worst with nearly double the average number.