Sandy pushes airlines’ on-time rate lower

The on-time record of U.S. airlines got soaked by superstorm Sandy, as late flights and cancelations surged in October.

The Department of Transportation said Tuesday that only 80.2 percent of flights in October arrived on time. That was worse than the 83.3 percent mark in September and the 85.5 percent rate in October 2011.

American Airlines had the worst on-time record for the second straight month, while Hawaiian Airlines held on to its usual perch on top of the government rankings.

The airlines canceled 2.8 percent of their domestic flights, nearly four times as many as September and in October 2011. Superstorm Sandy caused more than 12,000 cancelations — 83 percent of all canceled flights for the month. The storm battered the Northeast in late October, causing airlines to scrub flights in New York and other major cities.

JetBlue Airways, United Airlines and US Airways had the highest cancellation rates. All have many flights to and from the Northeast.

Airlines reported two flights that were held on the tarmac for at least three hours, both in Denver during a snowstorm on Oct. 24. One was operated by Frontier Airlines, the other by Shuttle America. Airlines can be fined for such long delays.

Among the largest airports, travelers were most likely to arrive on time at Salt Lake City — 88.1 percent of the time — and most likely to be late at San Francisco — 63.6 percent of the time.

Passengers reported a slight increase in lost, damaged or delayed checked luggage — 2.83 mishandled bags for every 1,000 passengers, up 7 percent from a year ago.

Overall complaints about airline service jumped 50 percent, but the actual number, 1,300, was a tiny fraction of all air travelers. Few passengers bother to file a formal complaint with the government when things go wrong.

Southwest Airlines had the lowest complaint rate, followed by its AirTran Airways subsidiary. United had the highest rate of complaints, followed by American.

More in Herald Business Journal

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

A decade after the recession, pain and fear linger

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Panel: Motorcycle industry in deep trouble and needs help

They have failed to increase sales by making new riders out of women, minorities and millennials.

Costco rises as results display big-box retailer’s resiliency

Their model has worked in the face of heightened competition from online, brick-and-mortar peers.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Tax reform needs the public’s input on spending priorities

The GOP tax plan is a good idea, but the next step should give us a voice on how taxes are spent.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.

Under cloud of ethics probes, Airbus CEO Enders to step down

He leaves in 2019 after 14 years. Meanwhile, aircraft division CEO Fabrice Bregier leaves in February.

$4.99 sandwich promotion irks some Subway business owners

Management insists that “most franchisees support the promotion.”

Most Read