Airlines in Sept: Long delays down, cancellations up

Airlines and airports continue to have relatively good on-time and customer service records, and that applies both to PHL and US Airways, based on statistics for September releaded today by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The bureau's parent, DOT, pointed out in a news release that long tarmac delays, which are now subject to heavy fines on airlines if they last more than three hours, have dropped sharply since that rule took effect at the end of April. Cancellations were about the same as they were in September 2009.  But spinning the statistics another way shows that cancellations in the five months since the rules were imposed have gone up by 62 percent compared with the same year-ago period. 

PHL's largest carrier in flights and passengers, US Airways continues to make great strides in comparison to other large, old hub-and-spoke airlines. In the mishandled-bag category, US Airways had fewer in September than any of the five other carriers, a far cry from where it was a few years ago.Compared to other major airports, PHL during the month finished in 21st place for on-time arrivals, an improvement from September 2009. Find all the DOT statistics you can stand -- and more -- at this link. The individual airport stats can be found here.

What would you prefer, a long tarmac delay or a canceled flight? We're open for comments.