MIAMI - JUNE 12:  Passengers wait to check in with their baggage at the United Airlines counter at the Miami International Airport June 12, 2008 in Miami, Florida. United Airlines announced it will begin charging many passengers $15 to check in their first bag on top of the $25 fee for a second bag that is already in place. The airline industry is trying to off set the high cost of fuel with new fees.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A cancelled flight, a long delay, or a lost bag can make holiday travel stressful.

But, which airline is most likely to be to blame?

The Department of Transportation’s latest Air Travel Consumer Report, released this month, ranking 16 US-based airlines shows American Eagle had the highest rate of cancelled flights in both August and September.

The airline was also among the most likely to mishandle bags.

The airline most likely to leave you delayed on the tarmac? United Airlines.

In September, at least 38 of its flights spend more than two hours just sitting.

One left passengers on the tarmac for more than four hours.

In September, the airlines most likely to reach their destination on time were Hawaiian Airlines and Delta.

The least likely? Frontier and Southwest.

Southwest Airlines also had the highest percentage of delays caused by circumstances within its control.

Those delays didn’t seem to upset too many customers, though.

Southwest also had the lowest rate of complaints.

Those with the highest rate were American, United, and Frontier.

The report also revealed in September flights leaving DFW were most likely to be delayed if they were scheduled to depart between 7 and 8 in the evening. Flights before 9 o’clock in the morning did best, leaving on time at least 90 percent of the time.


American continues to make strategic investments designed to place our customers at the center of all we do and give our people the tools, training and leading technologies they need to provide customers with a uniquely American experience. As we have consistently said, we must continue to build a strong foundation for the new American by transforming the travel experience. We believe our internal data provides the best measurements of our quality of service because it is solely focused on American, our people and our customers.“By combining our efforts with US Airways and investing in our people, onboard amenities and new technology, we are well on our way toward our goal of the new American – a transformed global competitor.” Huguely, American Airlines spokeswoman


We are not surprised by the DOT rankings. Our Employees are known for delivering top-notch Customer Service, resulting in many more compliments than complaints from passengers. Regarding our ontime performance statistics, a combination of unexpected summer weather and changes made to our schedule put us behind the pack. We are aware of the pain points and are working on schedule tweaks that will improve our performance in the next few months.


United is investing significantly to improve our customers’ experiences and provide co-workers the tools to deliver great service, with customer satisfaction ratings today at their highest level in three years. While we are pleased with the year-over-year improvements, we continue to work hard to deliver even higher levels of service and reliability.

We are committed to complying with the tarmac delay regulations and we continue to improve our procedures while maintaining the safety of our customers and co-workers.

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