The right to know what to expect

Many of the regulations made by the US Department of Transportation (D.O.T) resulted in higher operational costs for airlines. In a previous post I was saying that this was not necessarily a good thing as flyers would probably be the ones paying these costs at the end of the day. But when it comes to airlines’ OTP (on-time performance) statistics I must completely agree with the US D.O.T.: the traveler has the right to know what to expect of the airline he or she intends to fly.

This basically means that the airlines have to publish on their websites a series of statistics on the delays of their flights. They need to inform the public about the percentage of flights that arrived within 15 minutes of schedule and about the percentage of those that were more than 30 minutes late. Airlines also need to provide details on the routes on which flights were late more than 50% of the time and on the percentage of cancellations if flights on a certain route were cancelled more than 5% of the time.

This is a very important piece of information for travelers and it does not involve any additional cost for the airline. The only aspect that may suffer will be the airlines’ image if they perform really badly. But even so, all airlines should agree to publish these statistics and to take responsibility for their actual performance in front of the travelers.

Of course, not all the airlines complied with the rules regarding OTP. Consequently, the D.O.T gave Frontier Airlines a $40,000 fine for failing to display on-time flight performance on their website in early 2011. This was a clear statement by the D.O.T that airlines should not try to hide their low performance, but to improve it.

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