Flying Is Hell, But U.S. Airlines Are Improving On-Time Performance


In news that will scarcely impact how miserable it is to fly, United States airlines are reaching their destinations on time more often than ever before. In fact, the second half of 2015 saw performance records that were “among the best ever.”

Drawing from the Department of Transportation’s data, Mashable reports that “87 percent of flights on the leading carriers arrived on time in October. That’s the third best month ever, up from September 2015, when airlines were punctual 86.5 percent of the time, and considerably improved from October 2014 when they were punctual 80 percent of the time.”

Great job, guys! Would you all like a cookie? You should have plenty stashed now that so few airlines see fit to feed their passengers.

My fussiness aside, these are impressive percentages. They may not, however, reliably measure airline timeliness. From Mashable:

“Those numbers might seem slightly less impressive…in light of a recent report from OAG, an air travel intelligence company based in the UK.
The report found that the allotted times scheduled for some flights have been growing since 1996. For example, a flight that used to be scheduled for two hours may now be scheduled for two hours and 20 minutes.”


And yet, a spokesperson from Virgin America tells Mashable that toying with numbers for the sake of appearances would not be reasonable:

“Because the success of our low-cost business model relies on the efficient use of our aircraft and scheduling of our flight crew, it does not make sense for us to ‘pad’ schedules simply to create the appearance of better on-time performance.”

Besides, as Mashable notes, flight delays continue to happen all the time (I’m sure this is news to all of you). Airlines for America “is pushing for modernization at airports across the country to decrease congestion and delays, notably at hubs like New York City’s airports.”

That’s all well and good. Get back to me when flying coach no longer means tucking myself into a fetal position — or when there’s free booze.

Contact the author at [email protected].

Image via Getty.

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