Data reveals reliability concerns in local airline service

Can you count on airline service at Quincy Regional Airport? Some travelers are fed up with flight after flight delayed or canceled.

In fact, the United flight that was supposed to arrive Wednesday evening from Chicago at 4:57 p.m. was delayed due to weather and was expected to arrive around 10:00 p.m.
 
WGEM News pulled the federal reports on Skywest delays and cancellations at Quincy Regional Airport. They’re higher, and in some cases much higher, than the national average

Passenger Rahul Patel dealt with with the concern firsthand Wednesday night.

The Skywest employee at the service counter told Patel, "right now we’re estimating a departure time of anywhere from 10:30 p.m. to 11 pm this evening."

Patel was supposed to depart for Chicago around 5 p.m and was left scrambling.
 
"We’re trying to work on a plan b. Hopefully, St. Louis. drive up there and catch a flight from any other airlines," Patel said.

It’s the same problem Quincy resident Randy Schmelzel says he’s run into several times while trying to fly to work related meetings in California.
 
"I was just there not long ago and the flight once again was delayed, delayed, delayed. The person behind the desk that takes the ticket was trying to rebook me but he’d say ‘oops, all the seats on that plane just sold out’ or ‘now the plane that I booked you on, we’re late enough that you’d miss that flight so let me book you again.’ Pretty soon you’re into, ‘there’s no more flights left today.’" 

Schmelzel says the airport is a convenience for the community and for business people in the Tri-States, but he says until service becomes more reliable, he’s taking the train.
 
"Not as quick, but you know you’re getting to Chicago at 10:30. You just know it," Patel said.

Skywest took over from the previous airline carrier Cape Air in December of 2017.
 
Since then, Skywest officials say ridership numbers are up. While that may be the case, data shows reliability may be an issue.  According to the U-S Department of Transportation, so far this year, 22 percent of the Skywest flights arriving in Quincy are delayed. The national average is 18 percent.
And 7 percent of the arriving flights are cancelled all together. That’s triple the national average of 2 percent.   

"Skywest is a totally independent operation of the city," said Skip Bright, the city’s director of administrative services.

Bright said a pilot shortage may be to blame for flight delays. 

"One of the problems too is that pilots are flying cycles. If they fly into Cape Girardeau and don’t get the required number of hours of sleep that the FAA says they must have before they can fly again, then that flight out of Cape Girardeau coming up here in the morning is sometimes delayed for that very reason."

Skywest airlines sent WGEM News a statement about flight reliability. It reads:

SkyWest is proud of the operational performance of United Express flights into Quincy. Weather this year has been challenging.  But not counting weather cancellations, since our operation began in December there have been no cancellations from SkyWest aside from weather and in July we saw improved metrics for on-time arrivals and departures and overall flight completion. These are high performing metrics for any airline. We are pleased with the UIN airport and the community support we’ve received.

 Cancellations of any kind are inconvenient, but SkyWest’s priority is always safety. Our customer service team at UIN does a great job handling any irregular operations and accommodating passengers when they do occur.

If you want to report complaints with your United flight, airline representatives suggest contacting Skywest directly. You can do that by clicking here

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