Tarmac Delays Down Significantly After New Three Hour Rule

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that tarmac delays have reduced significantly from June 2010 compared to June 2009.
As a reminder, this is a month in which the three hour rule is in full effect.  The three hour rule “prohibits U.S. airlines operating domestic flights from permitting an aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations”.
The full report is available here.  Below are a few highlights:

  • There were only three tarmac delays that lasted than 3 hours.  Of those, only United Airlines flights departing out of O’Hare during a thunderstorm sat on the ground waiting to depart more than 3 hours.
  • Cancellation rates remained flat at 1.5% compared to 2009.
    • Comair (Delta Connection), American Eagle, and Pinnacle (Delta Connection) led the pack in terms of cancellations with Comair canceling 4% of flights
    • Continental, Hawaiian, and AirTran were stellar in their cancellation rates with Continental as low as 0.1%
  • Passenger involuntary bumping due to overselling decreased to a rate of 1.06 per 100,000 compared to 1.43 in Q2 of 2009.
  • Complaints were up a whopping 89.7 percent year over year.
  • All on-time performance data should now be available on carrier’s sites

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