As U.S. air carriers ramped up their flight schedules by 3% in September, on-time performance fell fractionally, easing to 85.1%. Cancellations, though still representing less than 1% of total flights, were up more than 50% compared to September 2009, while lengthy tarmac delays were cut by one-third. The Transportation Department has highlighted the fall in tarmac delays as proof that new regulations are working, but some travel experts say that's not the whole story. "Cancellations are a much worse result for passengers" than long delays, notes David Stempler of the Air Travelers Association. "The time it takes them to get to their destinations may last up to days" after a flight is canceled.

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