Figures released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics show that US airlines had one of their best years on record for landing and taking off on time in 2011. Although slightly less than 2010’s 79.8 per cent, US carriers were at the gates within the permissible 15 minutes 79.6 per cent of the time.
During December, the on-time rate was 84.4 per cent which is the highest it has ever been for 17 years. Only 0.8 per cent of services were cancelled during the month. In 2010 3.7 per cent of flights were cancelled in December and the on time rate dipped to 72 per cent.
During 2011, the mishandled baggage rate fell to the lowest since records began to 3.39 per 1,000 airline passengers. The year before the figure was 3.51 per 1,000. The number of passengers being bumped from flights was also at the lowest level since 2002 with 0.81 per 10,000 compared to 2010 when the figure was 1.09 per 10,000 passengers.
However, even though the statistics were some of the best since records began, the Transportation Department said that it received three per cent more complaints from passengers than the year before. Analysts are attributing this to the fact that there were fewer services and planes tended to be more crowded.
According to AirInsight.com’s Addison Schonland, the airlines were flying much busier services in 2011 than many passengers would normally be used to and there were more constraints.