March was a good news/bad news month for air passengers in Chicago.
Numbers released by the Department of Transportation Wednesday show that compared to this same time last year, on-time arrival performance at O’Hare actually improved, with the big airport in 23rd place, compared with 25th place in March of last year.
The story was not quite so good at Midway.
The Southwest Side airport ranked seventh in performance in March of 2012, with 86 percent of its flights reporting on-time. But Midway plummeted to 16th place this year, with an on-time rating of 79 percent.
When it comes to departures, the numbers were not nearly as good. Midway and O’Hare held the 23rd and 24th spots in March of last year. O’Hare dropped to 27th, with just 71 percent of its flights leaving on time this March. Midway fell to 28th, with about 70 percent of flights leaving on-time.
Who is best? Phoenix holds the top spot for arrivals, with nearly 87 percent of its flights on-time. Salt Lake City, Portland, Charlotte and Dallas/Fort Worth round out the top 5. Portland ranked best in March for departures, with nearly 89 percent of its flights pushing back on-time.
Newark, NJ, has the dubious distinction of being worst in on-time arrival and departure performance. A paltry 67 percent of its flights arrived on time. And only 69 percent departed on schedule.
The perennial champion in on-time arrival performance, Hawaiian Airlines continues to hold the top spot at 90.95 percent. Virgin America, Alaska, Delta and US Airways round out the top 5. American ranked sixth. United came in at eighth.
For frequent travelers, the good news was that there were no domestic flights in March where passengers suffered a tarmac delay longer than three hours. But there was one excruciating Avianca flight, where passengers traveling from Bogota to Orlando were kept waiting for over five hours. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics says that flight is under investigation.