Philly Planes Are Later Than You Thought

NYT finds that Philly leads nation in unreported delays.

The New York Times reports today that Philly leads the nation in unreported flight delays—64 percent of them have gone unreported, distorting the airport’s publicly-reported on-time performance. The less-bad news? Philadelphia isn’t alone in this: It’s part of a nationwide trend.

A recent federal report found that passengers are getting only part of the picture, and that the industry’s on-time performance is actually much lower than billed. And a proposed rule that would require carriers to provide a more accurate picture has itself been delayed — and has yet to be adopted more than two years after it was proposed.

The inspector general’s report analyzed a wide set of flight data, including records from the Federal Aviation Administration, and found that 64 percent of the domestic flight delays at Philadelphia International Airport don’t get counted in the official government statistics; neither do 51 percent of the delays at Detroit Metropolitan Airport or 44 percent of the delays at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington.

At those airports, many flights are operated by the regional partners of bigger carriers like American, Delta or US Airways, so those delays are not reported to the Transportation Department. That means the agency’s monthly report — recently noting a 79 percent on-time arrival record for the airline industry from January through November 2013 — is based on faulty statistics.