4:15 PM

More Good Reasons
to Fly a Private Aircraft

I'm sure the marketing departments at the major U.S. carriers cringe any time they catch wind that the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), is about to release their Air Travel Consumer Report...especially when we see headlines like this:

Airline On-Time Performance Slips, Cancellations and Mishandled Bags Up
Based on Data Filed with the BTS by the 20 Reporting Carriers, we learn that the Bigs had an overall "on-time arrivals" rate of a pathetic 68.1 percent. The carriers doing the best job at getting their fares to their destinations on time were Hawaiian Airlines with 92.9 percent, Aloha Airlines with 86.8 percent and SkyWest Airlines with 77.9 percent. Those who can't seem to get that part of commercial air travel right were the bottom three, Atlantic Southeast Airlines at 56.0 percent, American Airlines with 57.9 percent, and American Eagle Airlines with a stunning 60.5 percent.

I can easily understand who the two main carriers that fly the Pacific out to the Islands would have such high rates...weather, or lack thereof. But while they are making the trips on time, it is almost unbelievable that the DOT says these flights are late 100 percent of the time:
ASA 4104 - Atlanta to Chattanooga
ASA 4176- Atlanta to Myrtle Beach
ASA 4415 - Chattanooga to Atlanta
ASA 4415 - Atlanta to Hilton Head
ASA 4854 - Atlanta to Milwaukee
Comair 5565 - JFK to Buffalo
Delta 1891- JFK to LA
Northwest 656 - Detroit to Newark
And it just gets worse:
The 20 reporting carriers also posted a mishandled baggage rate of 7.92 reports per 1,000 passengers in June, higher than both June 2006’s 6.30 rate and May 2007’s 5.93 mark. In addition, the Department received 1,094 complaints from consumers in June about airline service, up 43.4 percent from the 763 complaints received in June 2006 and 17.8 percent more than the total of 929 filed in May 2007.
Oh, but wait, a little blue sky in the report surfaces here:
For the first six months of this year, the Department received 47 complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin or sex, down 24.2 percent from the 62 complaints filed during January-June 2006.
So when you have such a tough time pleasing your customers, I guess having just 47 of them reporting you to the Feds for discrimination is a good thing. After all, they need to find something in this report to spin in their next marketing campaign:
Fly the Less Hateful Skies of XYZ Airlines
The BTS website has loads of more bad news about how low the level of service at U.S. carriers has fallen. For example, that site shows that airlines reported 462 flights with taxi-out times of more than three hours in June! That must have been all those little GA planes clogging up the system again.

All of this plays right into the hands of so many of my private aviation clients who sell airplanes or airplane parts, fly charters or train pilots to fly in private flight departments. I believe there is a direct correlation between the record shipments and billings that GAMA reports, and the dismal airline service numbers that DOT reports. The more suck the airlines become, the more it makes sense to fly yourself.

Then, the only delay getting out of the airport will be when you stop at the FBO to chat up the desk girls and eat free chocolate chip cookies.

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