flySmart: The Linear Air Blog

Air Taxi Dominates the Airlines in On-Time Performance

Posted by Peter Schmidt on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 @ 11:02 AM

Imagine if you only had one lunch option. The food is cheap, but the quality... well, honestly, you feel vaguely uneasy about eating it. But since you have no choice, you always squelch those thoughts.  The lines are long, the wait hard to put up with, but some days, for no obvious reason, everything goes half as fast - which is extra irritating.  There's relief when you finally get to the front and place your order, but more than a quarter of the time they get your order wrong or fail to deliver your order at all, and you are sent to the back of the line again.  What a nightmare!

Welcome to the sad state of airline on-time performance

AirlineOTP 1H14In the first half of 2014, 26% of airline flights were not on time.  More than a quarter of the time, the airlines' hub-and-spoke system failed to deliver their passengers when they said they would. They are actually offering the flying equivalent of the fast food nightmare above, and people keep suffering through it because they don't know they have a better option.   

When "on time" is not on time

Per the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, "A flight is considered delayed when it arrived 15 or more minutes later than the schedule."  If your flight is 14 minutes late, it's actually "on time" as far as the airline industry is concerned.  Maybe you're thinking, "Fifteen minutes, that's not too bad, I can probably still make my meeting/connection."  But that's fifteen minutes AFTER they are done playing games like this with the schedule:

airlines_padding_route_timesDelta pads their en route time by a whole hour on this flight (source:

The actual flight time from New York to Boston on a nice new regional jet should be more like 43 minutes.  By adding a whole hour, in this case Delta has padded their schedule by 140%, which should be plenty to let them arrive "on time."  But, your hopes are still likely to be dashed on more than 1 in 4 of your airline trips.

Air Taxi, where 1 minute late is "late"

Linear Air holds ourselves and our air taxi operators to a higher standard.  Our on-time definition is: A flight is considered delayed if it departs after the promised time, or if it arrives after the promised time.  

We don't give ourselves the "out" of measuring only arrival time.  Our word matters to us, so if we set your expectation that the flight will depart at 9:30am, then a 9:31am departure is a late one, and that flight is counted as late even if we still manage to arrive on or before the time we promised.  Similarly, if we land even a minute late, that counts against our on-time performance.

So, how are we doing in the first half of 2014?  Against our much stricter standard, Linear Air trips have maintained an on-time performance of 90%.  If we used the airlines' standard, the stat would be over 98% on time.  Keeping our promise of a vastly better flying experience is the reason we constantly get feedback like this:

“I rank it a 10 and am telling everyone.  Was awesome!  Ken was a most gracious pilot and I will use you guys plenty!” 

You do have a better option than standard airline service. It's called Air Taxi, and it's time to get on board!

Tags: commercial delays, airline delays, air taxi, business travel, on time performance, on-time

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