Saturday travel means fewer delays for fliers



If you want to cut your chances of flight delays, travel on a Saturday.

If you like getting stuck at the airport or in holding patterns, fly on a Thursday or Friday, especially late in the day.

Those are among the findings of an analysis of major U.S. airlines' arrival records by Consumer Reports Travel Letter, which digested statistics for all of last year and reports the patterns in its April issue. While many of the findings would not surprise regular fliers, they serve as guidelines for anyone seeking to avoid delays in the increasingly crowded skies.

The newsletter cited a government report that said the number of delayed flights increased 33 percent between 1995 and 2000; cancellations rose 104 percent, and the average delay reached more than 52 minutes in 2000.

Mondays and Tuesdays also were good travel days for arriving on time, the newsletter said, but departures earlier in the day were better than later. The newsletter found the best on-time performance was in the early morning hours.

For one of the routes it studied closely, Philadelphia to Miami, the newsletter found the best departure times were 6 a.m. to 7:59 a.m., when about 85 percent of departures arrived on time. However, there was a sharp decline to 66 percent in the 8 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. hour; another decline, to 63 percent, in the 10 a.m. hour, and an improvement to 71 percent in the 1 p.m. hour. The hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. showed the worst performance.

In brief

Museum's a capital idea

The nation's capital has a new coming attraction: a museum devoted to the history of the District of Columbia. More than $11.4 million has been raised to renovate the 97-year-old library building that will house the D.C. City Museum, scheduled to open by March 2003. The museum will be near the city's new convention center, and exhibits will depict the district's role in historical events.

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