Group grades airlines on lengthy tarmac delays
Airways and Delta.
TARMAC DELAYS OF TWO HOURS OR MORE The coalition’s report card
WA S H I N G T O N — BETWEEN DEC. 29 AND JUNE 13 calculated an overall grade for
American, United and US (one of several criteria on which the airlines were graded) each airline based on those de-
Airways received overall fail- lays and other factors, including
ing grades in an “airline strand- Number of the percentage of flights with
ing report card” created by a Percent of total flights delayed flights* Grade taxi-out delays longer than two
group that hopes the report hours as tallied by the DOT, the
will help pressure Congress to AMERICAN AIRLINES [.19%] 1,206 longest reported delay for each
pass airline passenger rights carrier and the rights delineated
legislation. EXPRESSJET [.26%] 1,135 in each airline’s customer service
The Coalition for an Airline plan or contract of carriage for
Passengers’ Bill of Rights, which passengers stuck on the tarmac.
said it has grown to more than UNITED [.18%] 884 The coalition’s report card
15,000 members, released its gave overall “F” grades to Amer-report at a June 13 press con- CONTINENTAL [.26%] 795 ican, United and US Airways.
ference on Capitol Hill. Southwest and Air Tran fared
The coalition acknowl- AMERICAN EAGLE [.12%] 678 best, each with a “B.”
edged that its report card relies Neither American nor United
on incomplete statistics and responded to a request for com-empirical data, augmenting US AIRWAYS [.11%] 545 ment. But US Airways issued a
Transportation Department statement.
statistics with media accounts DELTA [.08%] 410 “Obviously, we’re not happy
and reports from passengers. about where they rank us, and
But the coalition said its report JET BLUE [.19%] 294 we question their credentials
was better than the DOT’s in- and methodology,” US Airways
complete tally of on-tarmac said.
delays and that it was the best NORTHWEST [.05%] 238 “This is a very complicated
that could be done under the * Figures solely for departing flights that were not canceled issue that a one-size-fits-all pas-circumstances. Source: Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights, as compiled from DOT of Transportation Statistics data senger rights bill won’t solve,”
“This report is an attempt to US Airways added. “We have
give a more concrete picture of airline strand- 135 flights from Dec. 29 to June 13 that spent procedures in place that we follow to ensure
ings,” said Kate Hanni, the coalition’s founder more than four hours on the tarmac but that our customers are informed and taken
and president. “What we know is that sta- would not be counted in the DOT’s num- care of during a weather delay; their comfort
tistics published by the DOT don’t tell the bers. and convenience is most important to us.”
truth.” It said that total included 101 flights on While United did not respond directly to
The DOT admits that its data
only show on-tarmac, taxi-out
delays for flights that eventually take off from their original
point of departure. That excludes
flights that are ultimately canceled, flights that get stuck on the tarmac
after being diverted to alternative airports or
arriving flights that wait on the tarmac after
The coalition said the incidents it tallied
from press and passenger accounts showed
By Andrew Compart
Capella’s Schloss Velden has opened.
First Capella hotel
opens in Austria
The first in a new line of luxury
hotels from former Ritz-Carlton
President Horst Schulze opened
in Velden, Austria.
The Capella Hotels and Resorts’
Schloss Velden is a castle, built
in 1603, turned lakeside resort. It
has 109 rooms starting at $600
a night. There’s also a 30,000-
square-foot spa, marina, beach
club and privately owned residences. The next Capella opens this
summer in Cork, Ireland.
does quick tix fix
American Express Business Travel
teamed with Worldspan to introduce Quick Exchange, a feature
that automates ticket repricing, reissuing and refunding for AmEx’s
U.S. corporate travel network, regardless of the GDS used.
Quick Exchange, which AmEx
said replaces the manual retick-eting process, integrates with the
corporate agency’s centralized
ticket database and helps track clients’ unused and refundable tickets. AmEx’s distribution platform,
TravelBahn DS, also is slated to be
tied into Quick Exchange.
‘This report is an attempt to give a more concrete picture ... statistics pub-
lished by the DOT don’t tell the truth.’ — Kate Hanni, coalition president
American, 87 of which occurred Dec. 29
when American diverted aircraft to Austin, Texas, because of severe thunderstorms
across the state. It counted 10 JetBlue flights
during its infamous Valentine’s Day strand-ings in New York and eight apiece for US
the report card, it told employees in a June 6
message that the airline had implemented a
new “ground hold policy” in response to customer feedback, including new cut-off times
for taxi-in and taxi-out delays and more options for customers to deplane.
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