That Snowstorm Was No Fun For Fliers Or On-Time Statistics

Remember that freak snowstorm that hit Houston late last year? Fun, right?

Not if you're an airline worried about your on-time statistics.

The federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics has released its latest report, and while overall airline performance improved -- mostly because there's fewer flights these days -- the December 10 snow and ice storm wreaked havoc with Continental.

The category most fliers hate to be on -- the five flights with the longest tarmac delays -- were all Houston flights. And all were either Continental or its ExpressJet subsidiary.

The longest wait on the tarmac was seven hours and nine minutes -- for a flight to freaking Monroe, Louisiana.

That must have been a happy little bunch of passengers.

The shortest long wait was six hours and 16 minutes. On a plane. Sitting on a tarmac. As Hour Four rolled by, life must have seemed hardly worth living.

Overall, the BTS reports,"the 19 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 76.0 percent for January through December 2008, up from 2007's 73.4 percent rate. During December 2008, the carriers posted an on-time performance rate of 65.3 percent, up from December 2007's 64.3 percent but down from November 2008's 83.3 percent."

-- Richard Connelly

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