Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Airline On Time Performance Statistics.

Warning: Grumpy Old Man alert.
The below is taken from published figures by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. The emphasis is mine.
For March 2012, on time performance over all routes operated by participating airlines (Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Regional Express, Skywest Airlines, Tiger Airways, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia – ATR/F100 Operations) averaged 78.7 per cent for on time departures, and 77.3 per cent for on time arrivals.  Cancellations represented 1.5 per cent of all scheduled flights.  The equivalent figures for March 2011 were 79.6 per cent for departures, 76.4 per cent for arrivals and 1.0 per cent for cancellations.........
Of the major domestic airlines, Tiger Airways achieved the highest level of on time departures for March 2012 at 90.0 per cent, followed by Qantas at 85.3 per cent, Virgin Australia at 79.8 per cent and Jetstar at 74.1 per cent.  
If you look at the chart on the summary report you can see a declining trend in on time departures and arrivals.
However it seems that in May The Bludger has had the misfortune of catching the Jetstar flights that are in the other side of the demographic namely the 25.9% and increasing that do not take off on time nor arrive on time.
Outbound was hardly worth talking about. The Darwin departure lounge overcrowded with a delayed flight to Bali. A lot of browned off potential passengers and one bloke gathering names to perform a "class action" against Jetstar. Yeah right! I surmised that he was facing an uphill battle.
So in comparison the 10 or so minutes that I was delayed "due to the late arrival of a connecting flight" was almost insignificant.
However homeward bound was a different story.
Prior to departure I had been blitzed with information that the flight schedule was 10 minutes later than booked. OK no problem.
When I checked in there was no indication that there was an issue. I had a leisurely meal in a Chinese Restaurant in Singapore airport and made my way to the departure gate. The message boards were flashing "go to gate". However the large amount of people in the walkway outside the departure area was an ominous sign. (In Singapore they have individual security checks on a per flight basis. Entering the airport and passing through immigration is just like the good old days. That is to say easy. The security check happens as you leave the public areas and walk into a glass cage optimistically called the departure lounge.)
I spent the next 15 minutes wandering the walkways before entering the glass cage. Shortly after, we boarded the plane.
And then we sat and waited.
And waited
And waited.
At one stage the flight crew told us that we would be "delayed but soon be on our way as luggage was being loaded from a late incoming flight".
We waited some more.
Then some more.
Eventually I snapped. In a controlled fashion. I asked one of the hostesses how much longer it would be. She did not know. I asked her if she could ask the captain to inform the passengers over the PA how much longer we would wait. After some pressure she said that she would, walked off and quite clearly ignored my request as she never went near the flight deck nor an intercom.
We eventually pushed back, by now 50 minutes after the amended departure time. We took off. We were allowed to undo our seat belts. I got out writing materials and wrote a letter of complaint to the Captain and asked a steward to pass it along.
I had 2 basic issues.
1. Passengers are treated with no respect. All that was required, to moderate my level of "pissed off" was an announcement of the delay and an update as to when we could expect to get off the ground.
2. Why did we board the plane if they knew that there was a delay? From a passenger point of view it is preferable for passengers to wait in the departure lounge, where they can walk, stretch their legs, get a drink, go to the toilet and use electronic equipment. Once boarded all those rights (not privileges) are taken away, you are expected to sit passively in your seat and do sfa.
To his credit later on the Captain came over to talk with me and offer apologies. Something about the delay being a problem with the luggage loaded incorrectly and that they were busy fixing the mistake. Well yes I want to be safe but at the same time being treated with no respect is not good.
I think that is why they won't let you carry guns on board. Hijackers are not the problem. Disgruntled passengers who are treated with the same level of respect as live cattle are the problem. I suspect that, in-flight service started degrading shortly after guns were banned.
Now that the pilots can hide behind a locked door they can totally ignore passengers.
The Bludger was not happy.
Postscript: After writing this, I notice that Jetstar has sent me a survey to complete "was I happy with my recent travel experience". I will be showing them opportunities for improvement in parts of the survey.

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