A little more than half of Southwest Airlines’ flights arrived on time in December as bad weather and operational problems in Chicago hurt the airline’s flight schedule, making it the worst on-time performer among U.S. carriers.
All of the U.S. airlines had difficulty getting flights to their destinations on -time as they reported an on-time arrival rate of 68.9 percent in December, down from 76.6 percent in Deecember 2012. Snow and ice storms across most of the country led carriers to cancel 2.9 percent of their scheduled flights, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statitsics report released on Tuesday.
Hawaiian Airlines, which operates in the moderate climate of Hawaii, had the best on-time arrival rate of 92.4 percent while Southwest’s arrival rate was 57.7 percent.
Of the 16 carriers who reported on-time statistics to the BTS, American Airlines was in ninth-place with an on-time rate of 70.5 percent for the month while its regional carrier, American Eagle, was in fourteenth place with an on-time rate of 60.5 percent.
The Fort Worth-based carriers had the highest rate of canceled flights with American Eagle cancelling 9.4 percent of its flights in December and American cancelling 6.5 percent. Most of the cancellations came over a four-day stretch at its hub at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport when an ice storm made for slick runway conditions.
Airlines reported ten tarmac delays over three hours, most of which occurred at Chicago O’Hare Airport on December 8 due to a snowstorm.
Carriers mishandled more luggage with 4.55 reports per 1,000 passengers in December, up from 4.15 in December 2012. The BTS received 1,114 complaints about U.S. airlines, up 23.5 percent from the same month last year.
US Airways, which merged with American, posted an on-time rate of 78.3 percent for the fifth best rate in the industry. With only 1.27 complaints per 100,000 passengers, US Airways employees earned $50 bonuses and in 2013, the company paid out $16 million under its customer service incentive program which is based on the BTS statistics.
American’s new management has implemented a similar program for employees that will start next month when the BTS reports its January 2014 on-time statistics.