Yesterday, United Airlines announced that they had climbed to the first place for on-time performance among the five largest global carriers in the country. This means United performed better than Delta (including Northwest), American Continental and US Airways.
On-time performance means the plane arrived at its destination within 14 minutes of its scheduled arrival time. Their 2009 performance was 10% better than the previous year, and preliminary numbers show that the airline will continue the trend in 2010.
One of the driving forces behind the huge increase in performance is a cash bonus for employees – for each month the airline took first spot, employees receive $65. For the entire year, United paid out $32 million, with each employee earning an extra $825.
Since delays are probably the number one complaint from most passengers, I’m very happy that the airline is putting so much effort into becoming better at being on time. And I do have to admit that the past couple of flights I took on United did indeed depart and arrive on time, something not always true in the past.
Fingers crossed that other airlines pick up the pace, and do what they can to beat United – more on-time flights will eventually benefit us all.