WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP)– A new report is showing improvements in service for air travelers in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released its Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on airline operations for January 2023. The report includes statistics for on-time performance, mishandled baggage, and mishandled wheelchairs and scooters. 

Flights in January 2023 were up by nearly 40,000 compared to January 2022. In January 2023, the 10 marketing network carriers reported 573,877 scheduled domestic flights, 11,032 (1.9%) of which were canceled. In January 2022, airlines scheduled 563,737 domestic flights, of which 35,667 (6.31%) were canceled. In December 2022, airlines scheduled 578,321 domestic flights, of which 31,187 (5.4%) were canceled. 

The agency has responded to consumer complaints about refunds or being charged rebooking fees when airlines canceled or delayed flights under their control. In 2022 DOT issued the largest fines in the history of the consumer protection office – helping to get hundreds of thousands of people hundreds of millions of dollars back. And since 2021, DOT has helped return more than $1 billion in refunds to travelers. 

DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg called on airlines to improve their service and created an airline customer service dashboard to make airline commitments transparent and accessible to the public. As a result, 10 airlines now guarantee meals and free rebooking when an airline issue causes a cancellation or delay, while nine guarantee hotels. 

In January 2023, airlines reported 18 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to 79 tarmac delays reported in December 2022. In January 2023, airlines reported zero tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to three tarmac delays reported in December 2022.

Also in January, reporting marketing carriers handled 36.6 million bags and posted a mishandled baggage rate of 0.73%, lower than both the December 2022 rate of 1.09% and the January 2022 rate of 0.81%.

Consumers may file air travel consumer or civil rights complaints online or by voicemail at (202) 366-2220, or mail a complaint to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, U.S. Department of Transportation, C-75, W96-432, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590.