Five Tarmac Delays Reported on Domestic Flights in May

Airlines reported five tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and no tarmac delays of more than four hours on an international flight in May, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today.  

The larger U.S. airlines have been required to file complete reports on their long tarmac delays for domestic flights since October 2008. Under a rule that took effect Aug. 23, 2011, all U.S. and foreign airlines operating at least one aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats must report lengthy tarmac delays at U.S. airports. 

Also beginning Aug. 23, 2011, carriers operating international flights may not allow tarmac delays at U.S. airports to last longer than four hours without giving passengers an opportunity to deplane. There is a separate three-hour limit on tarmac delays involving domestic flights, which went into effect in April 2010. Exceptions to the time limits for both domestic and international flights are allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons. Severe weather could cause or exacerbate such situations. 

The 16 airlines that file their on-time performance data with the Department reported that 79.4 percent of their flights arrived on time in May, down from the 83.4 percent on-time rate from May 2012 but up from the 77.3 percent mark from April 2013. 

The consumer report also includes data on cancellations, chronically delayed flights, and the causes of flight delays filed with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by the reporting carriers. In addition, the consumer report contains information on mishandled baggage reports filed by consumers with the carriers, and consumer service, disability, and discrimination complaints received by DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division. The consumer report also includes reports of incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers.

A news release on the Air Travel Consumer Report is available at The full consumer report is available at Detailed information on flight delays is available at


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