Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Flying this summer? Hints to help you arrive on time

Summer is the airlines busiest season. Statistically, the on-time performance numbers for the summer of 2007 were worse than the previous three summers. With 2008 already having a lousy track record for on-time performance, summer performance isn't predicted to be any better. So what can you do to improve the odds that you'll take off and arrive on time?

Take an early flight. If you grab the first flight in the morning, chances are the plane is there waiting for you, having arrived the night before. Also, in the summer, thunderstorms can be a problem. Since they typically arrive in the afternoon, morning flights are usually your best option.

If you fly on a Saturday, you'll have a good chance of arriving on time. Historically, Saturday flights had the best on-time record.

If you have a choice between flying in July or August, fly in August. More flights arrived on time in August over the last four summers.

If have have a choice on airlines, pick one with a better on time performace rating. Last August, the best was Aloha which, unfortunately, is now gone. Next best was Hawaiian. Then Southwest, Frontier and Continental. Rounding out the very bottom of the list are USAirways, Northwest, Alaska and United.

Try for a nonstop flight. Avoid having to change plans and even a 'direct' flight which still makes a stop on route.

Check out satellite airports. Last August, Dallas Love Field did better than Dallas-Fort Worth and Midway did better than O'Hare.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association has a site with information on the best days to fly from 29 airports. And the U.S. Department of Transportation web site had detailed information by flight, airline and airport.

Resources:
http://www.natca.org/mediacenter/avoiddelaystips.msp
http://www.bts.gov/programs/airline_information/airline_ontime_statistics/

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