Travel Seems Terrible, But Things Have Weirdly Gotten Better

It's not all stress and hassle.
Travel Seems Terrible, But Things Have Weirdly Gotten Better
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No one can argue that on the whole, going to the airport and flying in a metal tube is an irritating experience. Lines, delays and the occasional odd emotional support animal all taken together can be a bit much. But the next time you’re stuck on the tarmac, you might take solace in the fact that there are aspects of air travel that are improving, even if you can’t see or benefit from it right at that particular moment. Click through the slides for the breakdown.

Related: The 10 Worst Airports in the U.S.


To start, some perspective. Yes, it is true that the U.S. Department of Transportation received 18,148 complaints about air travel last year. But it’s not even the worst it’s been. The most complaints the department ever got was 44,813 in 1987.


In 2017, a little more than 80 percent of flights were on time. While that was down slightly from 2016 at 81.42 percent, it was an improvement over 2008 when 76 percent of flights were on time.


It seems that passengers' connection to the internet has gotten better. A recent study from travel ticket platform Routehappy found that 82 airlines provide Wi-Fi, up from 70 in January of 2017. The speed of connection that the research classified as the best is available on 16 percent of seat miles, up from 7.2 percent last year.

Bumping rate

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2017, airlines had the lowest rate of passengers being denied access to board their flights due to overbooking. The bumping rate was 0.34 for every 1,000 travelers, down from a rate of 0.62 in 2016.


The DOT also reported that in 2017, airlines said they had a mishandled baggage rate of 2.46 per 1,000 travelers, compared to 2.70 in 2016.

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