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Report: Flight delays at all-time high in 2000

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- At least one out of every four commercial flights was delayed, canceled or diverted in the first nine months of 2000, according to a report released Monday by the Department of Transportation's Inspector General's Office.

The report says flight delays and consumer dissatisfaction "are at all-time highs."

"Complaints for the first 11 months of 2000 increased 16 percent (18,966 to 22,089) over complaints during the same period in 1999," the report says.

The report calls the problem urgent, saying that the national airspace system is "operating at the fringes of capacity" and noting that airlines predict rapid growth in the next decade.

A more comprehensive report on airline customer satisfaction is expected to be released around the end of the month, according to David Barnes, a spokesman for the Inspector General's Office.

Congress ordered the year-long study to see if airlines are living up to their 1999 commitment to improve customer service. Airlines agreed to a 12-point customer service plan in order to fend off a more onerous Passenger Bill of Rights sought by some members of Congress.

A spokeswoman for Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said he is awaiting the next results of the year-long study before deciding whether to revive the push for a passenger bill of rights.



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