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Delta Canceled Just 10 Flights in September 2016

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Were you on a canceled Delta flight in September? If so, you’re one of very few passengers who were so unlucky. Ditto for most of the other airlines. The Department of Transportation reported yesterday that flight cancellations hit an all-time low in September, with just 0.3% (that’s 3 in 1,000) of flights being canceled. Delta led the way with just 10 flight cancellations all month, earning a coveted 0.0% (after rounding down) cancellation rate.

For comparison, airlines had a 1.4% cancellation rate in August. Thanks to its system outage in early August, Delta was one of the worst offenders that month, with 2.1% of its flights canceled.

Another great stat for September: There were no domestic (3 hours) or international (4 hours) flights with a significant tarmac delay. This compares with 15 domestic delays and 5 international delays in August. As we’ve reported before, a study has shown that the DOT rules penalizing airlines for such delays has led to airlines canceling more flights. Well, in September, it seems airlines were able to avoid both!

Here's the cause of the delays that occurred in September.
Here are the causes of the delays that occurred in September. Image courtesy of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

On-time performance in September (85.49%) also saw some improvements from earlier this year, but it certainly fell short of record-setting. Hawaiian Airlines led the pack with a 91.3% on-time rating, with Alaska (90.3%) and Delta (90.2%) taking silver and bronze. Dragging down the industry’s performance was Frontier (71.7%), JetBlue (78.7%) and Virgin America (82.3%).

There were six flights that were chronically delayed in September. So, you might want to avoid these flights if you need to be somewhere on time:

  • United #1202 BOS-EWR: 65% delay rate
  • Frontier #522 DEN-CLE: 61% delay rate
  • Southwest #3099 BOS-STL: 58% delay rate
  • Frontier #1045 PHL-IND: 54% delay rate
  • Southwest #1534 BWI-BOS: 52% delay rate
  • Southwest #2462 SMF-SEA: 52% delay rate

Bottom Line

Credit where credit is due: September was an excellent month for air travel. Airlines combined to achieve the lowest canceled-flight rate since the DOT started keeping track in 1995. On-time performance was decent; there were no excessive tarmac delays; even mishandled baggage rates dropped. We hope that airlines can keep up this performance as we head into the winter months.

Were you on a canceled flight in September?

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