Feds: Air travel getting close to pre-pandemic levels

Air travel
Mark Prado

The number of flights in May almost matched those of May 2019, before the pandemic curbed air travel, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report.

The 612,797 flights in May 2023 were 103.70% of the 590,957 flights operated in May 2022. There were 680,165 flights in pre-pandemic May 2019. Flights in May 2023 were up 3.70% year-over-year from the 590,957 flights in May 2022 and up 4.51% month-over-month from 586,353 flights in April 2023.  

In May 2023, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 81.2% up from both 75.7% in April 2023 and 77.2% in May 2022. The year-to-date on-time arrival rate for 2023 is 77.6%.

Highest on-time arrival rates for May:

  1. Delta Air Lines Network – 88.8%
  2. Alaska Airlines Network – 83.9%
  3. American Airlines Network – 82.8% 

Lowest on-time arrival rates for May:

  1. Hawaiian Airlines – 61.3%
  2. Frontier Airlines – 66.7%
  3. Spirit Airlines – 73.8%

The report includes which airlines carriers canceled the most flights and how much baggage was mishandled, among other factoids. 

Other aviation consumer matters of interest to the public can be found at The report is designed to inform consumers about the quality of the services that airlines provide.

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