Over the past six months I have made countless trips, typically two to three night stays, and happen week after week. I fly back and forth from city to city. Sometimes I fly Southwest, and sometimes I fly American (who is now introducing US Airways into the mix). Most of these trips have one thing in common: there’s almost always a delay.
Part of me wonders if I just have really bad luck, but I’m inclined to believe that this is more of a wide spread issue with Southwest and American. Whatever it is, delayed seems to be the new normal. Weather can be blamed for some of these delays. When that happens you can’t really blame the airlines (although it’s still pretty annoying). However, many more of these delays can be attributed to maintenance issues. When a maintenance delay happens you can be pretty confident that you’ll either be switching planes or delayed for at least a couple of hours. Don’t get me wrong—I’m all for safety, but when delays happen due to maintenance over and over again there’s something wrong. Not sure if some of these planes need further inspections on the front end, if they need more maintenance workers, if planes need to be fully replaced because they are so old, or a combination of these, but if there are going to be maintenance issues on nearly every trip something needs to be addressed.
I was looking at the latest Air Travel Consumer Report and it looks like out of the 13 reporting airlines American/US Airways averaged 7th in on time percentage last November through January, and Southwest averaged 6th place. Both airlines had an on time percentage roughly in the high seventieth percentile for those three months compared to Delta in the high eighties. According to the report air carrier delays (which maintenance is categorized under) for American and Southwest is around six percent of the time in January. Delta air carrier delays happened about 40% less often in January (December and November had very similar results). Read more of this article »