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Insta-CoGo: Airlines Have a Good Month! Sorta.

John Deiner

Okay, the airlines didn't really have a good month, what with oil around $125 a barrel and cutbacks everywhere. Yesterday's announcement by United that it would curtail service by slashing its work force and U.S. fleet of planes certainly doesn't help.

But did you catch the news from the U.S. Department of Transportation about the tick upward in the rate of on-time flights?

According to a release by the agency, "The largest U.S. airlines' rate of on-time flights this past April was higher than in both the same month last year and March 2008, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The rates of flight cancellations and mishandled baggage also declined compared to the same periods, according to the report."

The airlines recorded an on-time arrival rate of 77.7 percent, which certainly seems like a lucky number to me (though 100 would be an even better figure, or at least 97). That's higher than April 2007's 75.7 percent and March 2008's 71.6 percent.

This could be a good sign for the summer, according to a Bloomberg report. "The improvement suggests the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration may be succeeding in limiting delays as the summer travel season picks up during June. Last year's delays were the second worst on record." It went on to cite David Stempler, the quote machine from the Air Travelers Association: "`As airlines keep reducing the number of flights due to the rising price of oil, this summer may not be as bad as many were predicting,'' he said.. ``Let's hope this is a sign that congestion will be eased.''

Let's hope indeed.

Coming and Going, or CoGo, is the Travel section's weekly consumer column. For a look at last week's column, click here.)

By John Deiner |  June 5, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  John Deiner
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