A new report released by the Department of Transportation (DOT) on Monday reveals that almost 4 percent of all U.S. flights were canceled in January, one of the highest rates on record.
The cancellation rates were pushed up not only by paralyzing winter storms in the east, but also the airlines trying to avoid paying hefty fines for holding passengers for more than three hours.
Only one flight, a Delta flight from Atlanta to Honolulu, was grounded for more than three hours in January, the DOT reported.
According to the Air Travel Consumer Report, which is released monthly by the DOT’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, 19,000 flights were canceled last month, with Atlantic Southeast Airlines having the highest rate of cancellations. The airline canceled 9.3 percent of its flights.
AirTran and Delta Air Lines were also high on the list. Delta Air Lines canceled 6.3 percent of its flights, around 3,756 flights in all. AirTran canceled 5.7 percent of its flights.
The number of cancellations for all airlines was significantly greater than in 2010 when only 2.5 percent of flights were scrapped in January. However, the rate of cancellations in December remained the same as it had been in the previous year, with a 3.7% cancellation rate.
Both December and January experienced major snowstorms that stranded thousands of passengers and led to widespread delays.
By Adriana Padilla for PeterGreenberg.com.
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