Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

More flights arriving late but fewer complain

Flight delays are increasing on major U.S. airlines, but fewer travelers are complaining.

The federal Department of Transportation said Tuesday that just 68.9 percent of domestic flights arrived within 14 minutes of schedule in December, compared with 76.6 percent a year earlier. Cancellations rose too.

In early December, snow, ice and freezing temperatures snarled operations at big hub airports in Chicago and Dallas, causing thousands of canceled flights and delays that rippled across the nation.

There were 10 flights during the month that were stuck on the ground for at least three hours, in violation of federal rules, and nine occurred at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on Dec. 8.

The airlines, however, were struggling to stay on schedule even before then. For all of 2013, the on-time rate fell to 78.3 percent, a drop of 3.6 percentage points from 2012.

The government figures cover 16 airlines including all the giants and the leading regional carriers, but they may underestimate the delay problem because they capture only three-fourths of domestic flights at U.S. airports, according to a recent report by the Transportation Department's inspector general. Small but growing carriers such as Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air aren't included, and airlines don't always indicate why a flight was late.

The statistics also make it harder to compare one airline's performance to another. Flights on smaller planes are more likely to be canceled or delayed. Those planes are often operated by regional carriers on behalf of major airlines. So if a Delta Connection flight operated by a regional carrier is canceled or delayed, "Delta doesn't take the hit for that in the DOT report," said Edmund Otubuah, an executive at aviation data firm masFlight. "It doesn't tell the full picture."

Flawed or not, the government's figures showed Hawaiian Airlines in its customary spot at the top of the rankings — good weather in the Pacific helped. Among the biggest airlines, Delta and US Airways had the best on-time ratings while Southwest Airlines had the worst, as nearly half its flights were late.

Steve Hozdulick, Southwest's senior director of operational performance, said that for several months Southwest has been putting more flights into peak hours when customers want to fly. That resulted in tight schedules, and if the airline fell behind, delays cascaded through the rest of the day, he said. Southwest is going back partly to its previous approach and will "loosen up" on schedules, he added.

Airlines canceled 2.9 percent of their domestic flights in December, up from 1.6 percent a year earlier. Airlines, which have faced potential fines for long delays since 2011, increasingly cancel flights when they expect bad weather or other challenges. Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, said that approach reduced hardship on travelers — they were less likely to be stranded at an airport.

Few of those displaced passengers bothered to file complaints with the government. The Transportation Department said that complaints fell 14.1 percent last year, to 13,168 out of the millions of people who boarded a plane.

Comments
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Updated: 1 hour ago
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison will build a new subdivision off of Boyette Road between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Overpass Road.The builder and developer recently broke ground on Chapel Chase, set on approximately 40 acres just north of New Tampa in Pasco County....
Updated: 2 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the groups behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over an old city building that sits between the hit eateries.Both want to redevelop the city’s former office of cable communications ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain & Berry Cafe opened in Palm Harbor, and now the healthy eatery is rapidly expanding throughout the Tampa Bay area.The healthy eatery opened a new location on E Fowler Ave near the University of South Florida in May, just 10 months after opening...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impact...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Former employee sued by Tesla says he was a whistleblower

Tesla sued a former employee Wednesday, accusing the man of hacking the automaker’s computer systems and stealing company secrets, shedding light on what chief Elon Musk had suggested was the work of a secretive internal saboteur.But the employee, Ma...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

ORLANDO — Florida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement Thursda...
Updated: 5 hours ago