Alaska Airlines Tops in Quality

Alaska Airlines was named the top airline in terms of quality in the latest Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Virgin America, which recently merged with Alaska Airlines and had spent four years in the top spot, slipped to third. Delta came in at a close second. The results were released at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

A joint research project funded as part of faculty research activities by Dr. Dean Headley at the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University and Dr. Brent Bowen at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, AZ, campus, the most recent AQR also showed that industry performance improved in all four core elements tracked by the study: on-time performance, rate of involuntary denied boardings, rate of mishandled bags and the rate of customer complaints.

Nine of the 12 airlines improved in three categories (on-time, baggage handling and customer complaints), and seven of the 12 airlines improved in all four categories. Airlines that performed better in 2016 were Alaska, American, Delta, ExpressJet, Frontier, SkyWest, Southwest, Spirit and United. Those whose scores declined in 2016 were Hawaiian, JetBlue and Virgin America.

Below is the 2016 numerical ranking of the nation’s leading 12 airlines, according to the Airline Quality Rating, with the 2015 ranking in parentheses:

  1. Alaska (5)
  2. Delta (3)
  3. Virgin America (1)
  4. JetBlue (2)
  5. Hawaiian (4)
  6. Southwest (6)
  7. SkyWest (7)
  8. United (8)
  9. American (10)
  10. ExpressJet (9)
  11. Spirit (13)
  12. Frontier (11)

Airlines are Getting Better in Annual Survey


DALLAS (AP) — Airlines are getting better at sticking to their schedules and are losing fewer bags. Their customers seem to be complaining less often.

Those are the findings of an annual report on U.S. airlines’ quality released Monday by researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Many passengers may have trouble believing those conclusions, however.

In just the last few days Delta Air Lines suffered a multi-day meltdown — canceling more than 3,000 flights after a one-day storm in Atlanta. And on Monday, United Airlines was in the spotlight after a video showed security agents dragging a man off a plane; he had refused to give up his seat on a flight that United overbooked.

“People don’t look at the numbers,” admitted Dean Headley, a marketing professor at Wichita State and co-author of Monday’s report. “They just know what happened to them, or they hear what happened to other people.”

The researchers used information compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation to rate the airlines for on-time performance, baggage handling, bumping passengers off oversold flights, and complaints filed with the government.

They judged Alaska Airlines to be the best U.S. carrier, followed closely by Delta. Frontier Airlines ranked last, followed by another discount carrier, Spirit Airlines.

The report’s general observations:

— ON TIME PERFORMANCE: The percentage of flights that arrived on time or close to it rose to 81.4 percent in 2016 from 79.9 percent in 2015. Of 12 leading U.S. carriers, only American, JetBlue and Virgin America got worse.

— LOST BAGS: The rate of bags being lost, stolen or delayed fell 17 percent.

— BUMPING PASSENGERS: Your chances of getting bumped by the airline dropped 18 percent, which doesn’t include people who voluntarily gave up their seat for money or a travel voucher.

— FEWER COMPLAINTS: The rate of complaints filed with the government dropped about one-fifth, with complaints rising only for Hawaiian and Virgin America.

The official complaint rates don’t include the larger number of complaints that passengers file directly with the airline. The airlines are not required to report those figures.

The Wichita State and Embry-Riddle researchers have been issuing their report for more than 25 years, making it useful for comparing airlines. But some observers of the airline industry dismiss their number-crunching approach, and there are many other surveys that purport to rank the airlines.

The Transportation Department counts a flight as being on time even if it arrives up to 14 minutes late. “Airlines are happy with that (grace period) because it makes them look better and misleads the passenger,” said aviation consultant Michael Baiada. He said airlines can do better, and besides, travelers pay to be on time — not 14 minutes late.

More broadly, a statistical analysis of government data “really doesn’t take into consideration how the customer is treated,” said Bryan Saltzburg, an executive with travel site TripAdvisor LLC. “How comfortable are they on the plane? How helpful is the staff? What’s the value for what the customer paid?”

TripAdvisor released its own airline rankings Monday, which it said were based on analysis of “hundreds of thousands” of reviews posted by users. It placed JetBlue and Alaska Airlines among the top 10 in the world, and it rated Delta ahead of American and United among the largest U.S. carriers.

Other outfits including J.D. Power and Skytrax also put out ratings. Airlines boast when they win. Recently, American Airlines started putting stickers on all 968 of its planes to note that a trade publication, Air Transport World, named it airline of the year.

When Is the Best Time to Buy Airline Ticket has released the findings of its Annual Airfare Study, which crunched 921 million airfares from 2.9 million trips to find the best and worst times to buy an airline ticket. For the second consecutive year, the study found that 54 days out is, on average, when travelers can get the best deals on domestic flights. However, the best timing depends on when and where passengers fly. found that the lowest fare for a given flight changes an average of 71 times between the time it’s announced and the day the plane takes off. In other words, the price of a flight changes on average every 4.5 days, and each change averages $33 up or down.

“The most important rule is fairly obvious: don’t wait until the last minute, as that rarely works out,” said Jeff Klee, CEO of “But beyond that, you also want to be careful not to buy too early. I always suggest that travelers check fares early and often and get familiar with the market. Then, when you see a good deal pop up, grab it, because it likely won’t last very long.”

The Airfare Study identifies five booking windows in which travelers buy flights which CheapAir has labeled:

  • First Dibs” approximately 6 – 11 months in advance, when flights first open for sale and fares tend to be on the high side.
  • Peace of Mind” 3½ – 6 months in advance, when fares are at a modest premium but options abound.
  • Prime Booking Window” 3 weeks – 3½ months in advance, when airfares are the cheapest, on average. This is typically the best time to buy airline tickets.
  • Push Your Luck” 2 – 3 weeks in advance, fares can vary dramatically but are often rising significantly, particularly as flights fill to popular destinations.
  • Hail Mary” 0 – 2 weeks in advance, this is when airfares are highest, on average $150 more than booking in’s “Prime Booking Window.”

How to survive a Long Flight in Coach


(this article was recently published in the Washington Post)

Let me start by saying one thing: If I can do this, you can, too.

When I lived in China and traveled home three times a year, making a 14-hour trek from Beijing to Dulles, people would say, “Oh, I could never do that kind of trip.”

They’re wrong. If I — a fidgety person who needs a body-space buffer most of the time — can do it, you can do it. And the payoff is that if you can survive a long-haul flight, whether it’s from Los Angeles to Sydney or Hong Kong to New York, you have just expanded your world.

This is not really intended for those who travel business or first class, those lucky ones who can pretend they’re curling up in the comfort of their living rooms, where the only downside is a little boredom and the wrong kind of chardonnay on the menu. No, this is for the humble masses, those who figure a cheaper flight is worth the reward of waking up in a place where breakfast might be spicy Asian rice noodles or where the smells might be an Australian eucalyptus tree.

You just need to keep a few tips in mind:

1. Choose your seat wisely. Most of the time, an aisle seat is best, even if you think you might want to sleep. Sleep on planes is overrated. Even in comfortable seats, you won’t be sleeping as much as you want. An aisle seat gives you the luxury of being able to pop up to stretch your legs. Of course, if this is an overnight and you want to be fresh when you land, a window seat and a good pillow might be better — if you promise yourself you’ll still move around. Deep vein thrombosis is real.

2. If you do end up with a window or the dreaded middle seat, remember this: You have the right to move. This means you must be brave enough to ask the person in the aisle seat to get up whenever you want, even if he is asleep. I learned this once the hard way when a guy in the aisle seat announced that he hadn’t slept in two days, popped an Ambien, and then became an unyielding wall between me and freedom.

3. This might be controversial, but I’m a seat-back proponent. Those folks who say you should never put your seat back at all have not traveled for 14 hours in coach. It doesn’t have to go all the way back, but no one should have to sit up straight for that long.

4. Food is overrated. Even if the meals surprise you with their quality — in which case you’ve been hitting the chardonnay a little too hard — don’t indulge in every last crumb of that brownie or roll. Your digestive system will thank you.

5. Do eat something, though. There is nothing worse than the feeling of having passed up the middle-of-the-flight meal only to realize you’re ravenous and you have another three hours before any kind of sustenance will be offered. A snack with protein (think nuts, not that pork knuckle you bought before you got on the plane in Munich) is a good backup plan.

6. Stay hydrated. Take every cup of water that is offered and don’t be shy about asking for more or walking to the service area. On many flights, trays of water are set up so passengers can help themselves.

7. Remember the accessories. I have tried the sling that wraps around your tray table and offers foot and leg support. The one I tried bunched one foot on top of the other — fail. Other people put some kind of book or solid item under their feet so the pressure is off their lower spine. A good neck pillow and eye mask are also helpful if you think you’ll sleep. A lightweight jacket, sweater or scarf is a godsend on over-chilled international flights.

8. Make sure your devices are charged. Some older-generation iPads, Kindles, phones and laptops don’t hold 14 hours of juice, and if you don’t have a battery pack and your seat doesn’t have a charger, you’re out of luck. Bring a paperback or magazine as backup, so you don’t end up browsing Sky Mall or staring at the seat like Elaine’s boyfriend Puddy in that one “Seinfeld” episode.

9. Be disciplined about entertainment. It’s best to start with reading when your brain is fresh and the dry air hasn’t made your eyeballs feel like cotton. When you can no longer read, go for a movie. Choose wisely: “Boyhood,” at 2 hours and 46 minutes, once ate up a good chunk of a flight. Next, move to music or podcasts. I recommend Krista Tippett’s “On Being.” If I’m going to have a voice in my ears when I drift off, let it be Krista’s. When you wake up from your catnap, you can start the process over again.

10. If the thought of wearing shoes for that long bothers you, bring a pair of soft socks or slippers to protect your feet from the bathroom floor.

11. Women, don’t wear a lot of makeup. You’ll feel gross after 10 hours. Pack some makeup removal wipes for the end of the trip to freshen up.

12. Remember that alcohol is rarely worth it. Airline wine is generally unimpressive, and if you choose red you’ll have purple teeth and lips for longer than you like. And the beer is generally bad. Besides, it’s really too cold to be drinking beer.

13. Try very hard not to look at the little screen that tells you how much time remains in the flight. When you feel as though you’ve been traveling forever, it’s no fun to glance at the indicator and learn that — nope — you still have nine hours left.

14. Finally, this might feel like Stockholm syndrome, but I have found that being nice to the flight attendants pays off, even when they seem to be scolding passengers and rushing by you so fast there’s a breeze. You never know when one might slip you an extra Dixie cup of ice cream or look the other way when you grab an entire empty row for a good long rest.

Must Pay to have TSA PreCheck

Thirteen percent of frequent travelers expect to lose or have lost their complimentary TSA PreCheck status, according to surveys conducted by GO Group, LLC, an international transportation provider and GO Airport Express, a Chicago-based ground transportation provider.

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) announced that as of February 2017, it was significantly reducing access to expedited screening for non-enrolled travelers, GO Group said.

Of the 446 survey respondents who responded to the surveys, 83 percent said the change will not affect them because they already pay for TSA PreCheck. Forty percent said the new rules did not apply to them because they were not frequent flyers and 28 percent were unsure if they would be affected.

Of those who responded they were losing their free PreCheck, 23 percent said they would pay the fee because it was worth the price to go through security faster without having to remove clothing items and electronic devices from luggage. Twenty-seven percent noted they would not pay for the privilege, deeming it too expensive. Forty-two percent had not made a decision yet at the time these surveys were conducted.

“TSA PreCheck offers a valuable and convenient service for those who spend a lot of time in airports, but some frequent travelers are willing to give it up because it is still cost-prohibitive,” said John McCarthy, president, GO Group, LLC, in a written release. “But based on these results, more are likely to be willing to pay the fee to avoid the long lines, especially if, as predicted, air travel will increase this spring and summer.”

Source: GO Group

What Will Flying be Like in the Future?

by Kashmira Gander, from The Independent, March 29, 2017

In what is sometimes perceived as the golden age of flying in the mid-twentieth century, air travel was an event, where – depending on the airline – planes had piano bars, inflight sommeliers, and waiters in white suits who dished out caviar. Now, airlines are ditching free food all together and nightmarish diagrams of cabins where passengers are packed in like sardines don’t bode well for the future of air travel.

But air cabin designers aren’t the bad guys, argues David Kondo, the Manager of Cabin Interior Development at Finnair. He insists they’re up not only against budgets, but also the laws of physics when it comes to making air travel pleasant for passengers.

Kondo has been working in the travel industry for seven years. Now based in Helsinki, he was born in Japan and grew up in Canada and Australia, meaning he was a frequent flyer when he was still in school. “I often joke I was raised on a Boeing 747-200,” he says. At Finnair, he’s introduced innovations including lighting that supposedly eases jet lag and lie-flat business class seats.

But even if you’re stuck in the cheap seats at the back, take heart: Kondo reckons the golden era of air travel is yet to come. Part of that will see the space above our heads and beneath our feet being used more efficiently; you can also expect technological upgrades, he says. And if you don’t believe him, remember that it really wasn’t that long ago that we were all watching films on a screen at the front of the cabin.

“Imagine boarding a plane and the seat recognising who you are and remembering exactly how you like to sit, in what configuration, and setting up your entertainment playlist based on your personal preferences and what you were watching at home before you came to the airport,” he says.

Not that Kondo wants us all to be attached to the world below. Although airlines are starting to roll out inflight wifi, he says his favourite aspect of flying is being cut off from the digital world and having time to eat, read, and watch films uninterrupted. His ideal plane wouldn’t isolate us from other passengers; it would give us more options for socialising. A passenger could then choose between shutting themselves off, or starting their holiday early at the sky bar.

“In a dream world, each passenger would have their own mini cabin, like a small hotel suite,” explains Kondo. “You would have different sizes and configurations to cater to different passengers – larger cabins for families, for example. The cabin would have everything you need, but there would be different social, lounge and dining areas available as well. It would be somewhat similar to what luxury rail or cruising is like.”

We’re still pretty far away from an Orient Express-style experience in the sky. Before Kondo and his peers can work their magic, aircraft manufacturers need to sort out the engineering complexity of getting all that gear into the air. And yet he’s not the only one with such high hopes. Anita Hawthorne, General Manager of Customer Experience for Air New Zealand, has a similar vision of the planes of the future. The digital revolution will “create personalised space for customers,” she says. And ANZ is already toying with innovation.

“We recently experimented with virtual reality headsets at our 75th anniversary exhibition,” she told The Independent. “Members of the public had the opportunity to sit inside an aircraft cabin mock up and wear a virtual reality headset to see what the future inflight experience might look like.” She remains tightlipped as to what that might include, but points out that Air New Zealand is already using biometric bag drop technology, allows customers in several premium lounges to order coffee via a mobile app, and has developed a tech-embedded wristband for children flying solo, allowing parents to track their kids’ journeys.

ANZ looked into bunk beds and pods when it developed its Skycouch (a row of economy seats which turns into a ‘bed’ for two) in 2010, she says, but they were too heavy. For her, the ultimate cabin would allow travellers to act exactly as they would on the ground – working, sleeping and entertaining in the sky. But because it takes so long to develop a new product, airlines take about five years to introduce any new innovations.

“The most annoying part I would say is all the limitations you face in designing a cabin, though part of the fun is working in such a constrained environment,” agrees Kondo. “The materials and design you choose are subject to stringent flammability and toxicity requirements and have to endure all sorts of extreme conditions like fluctuations in pressure, temperature and movement. It also needs to be extremely durable.”

Although we may lament sardine-style seating in economy, Kondo says you can thank regulations and legislation that it’s not worse. And anyway, he is swift to point out that those golden age photos you’re weeping over are probably from business class. In comparison, economy seats from 50 years ago weren’t that different. “Yes it’s slimmed up a bit but it’s not drastically different,” he argues.

And he believes seats will never get smaller than 29 inches. “We humans are not getting any smaller generally, so there comes a point where you physically cannot fit into the seat any longer. That’s obviously quite problematic.”

In the nearer future, Kondo just hopes to get a decent coffee onboard a plane and comfier seats.

“Yes, we have espresso machines but it just doesn’t taste the same as what you’d get at your favourite café,” says Kondo. “I think it has a lot to do with the fact that you physically can’t get water hot enough, as the boiling point at altitude in a cabin is about 80-85 degrees, and our taste buds also change at altitude.

“I also think we have a long way to go in economy class and think there is plenty of room to really fine tune the ergonomics and provide greater comfort to passengers. For example in headrest design, leg support, back and lumbar adjustment.”

On the whole, despite the nostalgia stoked by grainy images of planes from the 1950s where passengers had sofa-style seating and personal butlers, in reality we already have a lot to be thankful for, he argues.

“Generally, passengers have never had it better and also flying has never been more accessible. 50 years ago flying was reserved for the extremely wealthy. Today flying is for everybody.”



Demand for airfare to Cuba has slowed

Regularly scheduled passenger jet service to Cuba had been cut off for more than 50 years. Americans who wanted to go there had to go through third countries or take expensive charter flights that were notorious for long delays and steep baggage fees.

President Barack Obama renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015, and then brought back commercial airline travel last year. The companies that were authorized by the Department of Transportation booked routes not just to Havana, but also to less traveled cities such as Manzanillo and Holguín. With no history of commercial airline traffic to judge by, the airlines were largely guessing how many United States citizens and Cubans would line up for tickets.

United Airlines has service from Newark and Houston, and Alaska Airlines flies to Havana from Los Angeles. Delta offers three daily flights to Havana from Atlanta, Miami and Kennedy International Airport in New York. Destinations like Santa Clara proved to be less popular than the airlines had hoped, and some were forced to scale back.

“We started pretty big in Cuba,” said Laura Masvidal, a spokeswoman for American Airlines. “We made some adjustments to adjust to the market demand.”

Until February, American Airlines offered 1,920 seats a day to Cuba. The number dropped last month to 1,472, a nearly 25 percent reduction. The airline cut flights to Holguín, Santa Clara and Varadero to one daily flight from two, Ms. Masvidal said.

JetBlue Airways, which on Aug. 31 was the first to fly to Cuba, still offers nearly 50 weekly round-trip flights between the United States and four Cuban cities, but the airline recently switched to smaller planes.

“We have made some adjustment to aircraft types assigned to the routes, which is common as we constantly evaluate how to best utilize our aircraft fleet within our network,” said Doug McGraw, an airline spokesman.

Silver Airways has been flying 22 flights a week with smaller aircraft to nine Cuban destinations other than the capital, including Santa Clara, Holguín and Cayo Coco. Demand, Ms. Pinson said, was depressed by complications with online travel agency distribution and code-share agreements that still have not been resolved. The airline had already tried reducing its offerings.

The airline’s decision comes even as passenger traffic to Cuba is actually increasing at a brisk pace.

“The market is exploding,” said Chad Olin, the president of Cuba Candela, which specializes in booking trips to Cuba for the millennial traveler. “There is some demand adjustment happening as well, but net outcome is still one of the fastest growing markets in global tourism history.”

Mr. Olin said restaurants, bars and private home rentals are now much more crowded with Americans than even just a few months ago. “You hear American English spoken everywhere,” he said in an email.

And to hear the Cuban government media tell it, Americans interested in visiting Cuba were triggered by a message that told everyone to “travel now.”

The number of Americans who visited Cuba was up 125 percent in January, compared with the same month last year, the government reported, calling it a “virtual stampede.” Americans, the report said, were prompted by President Trump’s administration calling for a total review of the Cuba policies enacted by Mr. Obama.

Under the administration of George W. Bush, Cuban-Americans were limited to how often they could visit their families, so that niche also had a 38 percent increase, the Cuban media report said.

But it was still not enough to fill the flights.

“I think that a lot of airlines thought that there would be more demand than there is,” said Paul Berry, a spokesman for Spirit airlines, which flies twice a day to Havana from Fort Lauderdale. “Loads are not very heavy.”

Mr. Berry said there are still glitches, including not being able to easily use American credit cards. Cuban hotels are pricey, and some travelers are turned off by the extra costs for things like required traveler’s medical insurance and visas. The landing fees alone, Mr. Berry said, are sometimes more expensive than the actual airfare.

American citizens are still required to report which of the 12 authorized types of travel they are undertaking, which could also be limiting the number of potential passengers, he said. Religious and educational trips are allowed, but tanning on the beach is not. Many Americans are “not willing to flat-out lie” about why they are going, Mr. Berry said.

“A lot of people are not traveling; I think that’s why you see other airlines scale back,” he said. “There’s just not as much demand to go around.”

What to do if your plane is delayed or cancelled


(this is from a post on Wendy Herrin travel site)

We all know what it means when winter storms are on their way: delays, cancellations, long lines, and changed plans. But it doesn’t have to mean stress. Here are the steps you can take—and the tools you need in your arsenal—to prepare for anything the snow can throw at you this season. Safe travels!

Change your flight.
The simplest way to avoid the hassle of a storm is to avoid the storm altogether. So if you don’t have to travel when a blizzard is on the way—don’t. When big storms are expected, airlines will often take preemptive action and allow you to change your flight without fees. Check your airlines website or Twitter feed to find out more. If do you have to travel, consider rerouting your flight to avoid the storm altogether—look for hubs that won’t have bad weather.

Use the right technology.
Speaking of Twitter, watch your airline’s feed closely for info on flight changes or cancellations. Another option is to download the airline’s app, which will also keep you updated about last-minute things like gate changes or flight delays.

Other apps that come in handy during bad weather include, which can alert to you delays or weather cancellations (sometimes more efficiently than the airline will), and LoungeBuddy, which will help you find pay-by-day airport lounges so you can relax a little while you wait for your flight. We’ve got a full list of problem-solving apps here, and more info on airport lounge day passes here.

Use the right humans.
Even with all the right apps, you might still need to talk to a real person to solve your travel snafu. A great way to avoid long hold times is to call an airline’s customer-service office in a different country (here’s more on how to never wait on hold with airline customer service again). Your credit card concierge can usually be of help as well, but you can also call in the experts and let them handle it for you: Brett Snyder of Cranky Concierge specializes in emergency air travel assistance, and his team is well prepped for messy weekends like this one.

Prep the kids.
If you have kids, and there’s a possibility you’ll be stuck in an airport (or on the tarmac) for a while, you might want to try some of these tricks for flying with toddlers contributing editor Brook Wilkinson. One of her secrets is to bring a bunch of new, very cheap toys to keep her son occupied. “Scour the library book sales and Target $1 bins for inexpensive options,” she writes. “Some of my favorites: play dough, pipe cleaners, magnetic playsets, and reusable sticker pads. On one flight, a pack of small monster trucks entertained Zeke for a good 30 minutes. Just make sure that you liberate toys from their plastic clamshell packaging at home, while you still have access to scissors!”

Do what you have to do to avoid as much stress as possible.
Business travel expert Joe Brancatelli once told me his three most sanity-saving travel tips, and this was one of them: “Even if it costs you a few bucks, do whatever you have to do to fix a travel problem on the spot so you can go back to enjoying your trip. Argue with the travel company about compensation later. But, within reason, fix the problem first, worry about compensation later.”


Condor Adds non-stop service to Germany

As part of Condor’s expansion, the airline will add non-stop service routes from San Diego, Pittsburgh and New Orleans to Frankfurt and beyond. It will also add non-stop service to Munich from existing gateways in Seattle and Las Vegas. Condor is currently the only discount operator in the U.S. with full-service, inclusive fairs in three classes of service, the airline said.

For bookings made from February 27 through March 5 for summer travel, the airline offers discount fares for flights from the U.S. to Europe. For example: flights from New Orleans to Frankfurt starting at $249.99 (one-way) in economy, $499.99 (one-way) in premium and $799.99 (one-way) in business class. After March 5, flights from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt start as low as $329.99 (one-way) in economy, $429.99 (one-way) in premium and $799.99(one-way) in business class.

This is the first time the carrier has flown from San Diego, Pittsburgh and New Orleans. The carrier currently serves the U.S. from Anchorage, Austin, Baltimore, Fairbanks, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle.

The Condor route network includes more than 75 destinations with connections to more than 230 global destinations through partnerships with other carriers. All Condor passengers receive: complimentary checked baggage, complimentary beverages and meals along with complimentary entertainment.

Business class includes:

  •     Reclining seats
  •     A personal in-seat, touch screen entertainment system,
  •     Power and USB ports at every seat
  •     Five-course meals with complimentary wine, beer and cocktails
  •     In-flight, well-being amenity kit

Premium class includes:

  •     Added legroom
  •     Leg rests and adjustable headrests
  •     An in-seat entertainment system with an extended program
  •     USB ports at every seat
  •     Premium meals and complimentary beverages
  •     In-flight, well-being amenity kit


Airport Delays

New York’s LaGuardia airport was the most delayed airport in the United States in 2016, according to a new study by the Global Gateway Alliance (GGA) an organization dedicated to promoting the development of New York-area airports. Newark and JFK both finished in the bottom five according to the analysis, which compared delays at the nation’s top 29 airports for passenger traffic.

Newark had the worst on-time performance for departing flights. Key findings:

  • LaGuardia finished last among the 29 airports for on-time arrival performance, while Newark ranked 27th and JFK 25th
  • Newark had the worst on-time departure performance in the nation, dropping two places from last year, while LaGuardia held steady at 26th-most-delayed and JFK dropped one place to 22nd
  • Approximately a third of all arriving flights, or 28.1 percent, at LaGuardia are delayed
  • Salt Lake City had the highest on-time performance, with approximately 87 percent of flights arriving on time

“Once again, New York airports lead the nation for delays. So while the terminal redevelopment projects are important, these dollars won’t be enough unless we address the delay problem too. Put simply, our airports will just be nicer places to get stuck in,” said Global Gateway Alliance Chairman Joe Sitt. “The FAA must finally fully roll out NextGen satellite air traffic technology where it’s most needed; the New York airspace, and we have to look at how to expand runways to alleviate the chronic congestion.”

GGA is calling for a full roll out of NextGen in the New York airspace in order to alleviate the congestion in the skies and clear the way for more on time departures and arrivals. While New York and New Jersey are benefitting from some of the NextGen reforms, like the digital pilot communications program and curved approaches, these work better when the whole system is in place.

New York and New Jersey also need longer runways in order to accommodate growing passenger traffic and reduce delays, the GGA said. A study from the Regional Plan Association outlined four programmatic proposals for runway expansion at JFK and one for Newark to boost operations and reduce delays in adverse weather with minimal noise and environmental impacts. The proposals recommend expanding runway access into Jamaica Bay at JFK and building a third western runway parallel to the existing two at Newark. ReThinkNYC has also set forth a plan to extend runways at LaGuardia into Rikers Island.

Delay information is sourced from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and was analyzed on a year-to-date basis for 2016. The 29 U.S. airports included each account for at least 1 percent of the nation’s total domestic scheduled-service passenger enplanements. A flight is counted “on time” if it operated less than 15 minutes after the scheduled arrival or departure time, and arrival and departure times are calculated from the arrival at or departure from the airport gate.

Source: GGA