Bad news for business travelers

Delays at U.S. airports have reached their highest level in 12 years, according to a Department of Transportation report issued Aug. 6.

The DOT said the industry’s on–time performance for the first half of 2007 was the worst since 1995. For the first six months, 25% of flights on the largest airlines arrived late.

Some of the blame goes to increasing demands for air travel, as both large and small carriers have seen increases in passengers. The airlines also blame outdated air traffic control systems.

The airline with the worst record of on–time arrivals is SkyWest Inc.’s Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a regional carrier for Delta. In June, only 56% of its flights arrived on time. Five of its flights were late 100% of the time.

On average, the on–time arrival rate for airlines was 68% in June—down from 73% in 2006.

If your plane is on time, don’t necessarily expect your luggage to arrive with you. Reports of mishandled and lost baggage and complaints also have risen.

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