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The Department of Transportation’s latest Air Travel Consumer Report published Friday shows Delta still strong in several operational metrics, despite a technology outage that disrupted flights over a three-day period in August. 

Domestic mainline completion factor—the metric that measures overall flight cancellations—trailed most of the 11 other mainline and regional carriers tracked by the DOT at 97.9 percent as a result of the outage.1 Still the airline added 21 days in August where it didn’t cancel a single mainline domestic flight for any reason—American, Southwest and United had none. Delta’s year-to-date August tally of cancel-free mainline domestic grew to 168 for the month.1

If the Aug. 8-10 disruption is removed from the DOT’s data, Delta would have taken the No. 1 spot in the domestic mainline completion factor rankings.

Year-to-date Delta remains in third place for completion factor, trailing smaller Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines.1 In 26 of the last 30 months of available DOT data, Delta has been in the top three best performing carriers in terms of domestic mainline completion factor, with the exception of July 2014, February 2015, January 2016 and August 2016.2

Despite the outage-driven disruption, Delta people rallied, besting other large network carriers to take the No. 4 spot in on-time performance with 79.9 percent of domestic mainline flights arriving within 14 minutes of the scheduled arrival time—the DOT’s definition of on time. Delta was behind regional carrier SkyWest, Alaska Airlines and top place finisher Hawaiian Airlines.1 The airline bounced back from the early-August disruption and had 10 straight days of at least 91 percent of domestic mainline flights arriving on time—the longest such streak in any of the three months of summer in the airline’s history.1

“Delta people didn’t let a technology outage get in the way of performing at the top of their game to provide our customers best-in-class reliability,” said Dave Holtz, Delta’s Senior Vice President of the Operations and Customer Center. “Collectively we recovered from the disruption and returned to what we do best, running an airline where safety and reliability is king.”

In terms of baggage, Delta ranked sixth among the 12 carriers with 2.72 reports of mishandled luggage per 1,000 enplaned customers. The top five spots were dominated by smaller domestic carriers Virgin America, JetBlue, Alaska, Spirit and Hawaiian. Larger global carriers United and American placed 7th and 10th, respectively.3


[1] Based on DOT Air Travel Consumer October 2016 Report statistics for August 2016 on-time arrival based on domestic flights flown and completion rate based on domestic flights scheduled, compared to all carriers reporting to the DOT. 

[2] Based on Air Travel Consumer Reports for the months between Nov. 2014 and July 2016 with respect to completion rate based on mainline domestic flights scheduled.

[3] Based on DOT Air Travel Consumer October 2016 Report statistics for August 2016 with respect to mishandled bags per 1,000 enplanements for domestic flights scheduled.

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