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Airline On-Time Performance Is Up

U.S. airlines scored record results for on-time performance, fewest cancellations, fewest tarmac delays, and fewest bags mishandled during the first half of 2012, says the latest Air Travel Consumer Report from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Despite this good performance, complaints increased. Among the highlights:

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  • On-time rate: best, Hawaiian (93 percent); worst, United (79 percent).
  • Mishandled baggage reports (per 1,000 passengers): best, Virgin America (0.88); worst, American Eagle (5.52).
  • Involuntary denied boarding (bumping), per 10,000 passengers: best, JetBlue (0.01); worst, Mesa (2.48).
  • Tarmac delays longer than three hours: four; down from 35 in 2012 (after the tarmac delay penalties were instituted) and 586 in pre-penalty 2009.
  • Complaints per 100,000 enplanements: best, Southwest (O.25); worst, United (3.76).

All in all, the industry performed well, although some individual airlines still fared poorly. Given that performance, why are complaints increasing? Media speculation to date suggests that travelers are increasingly unhappy about the proliferation of fees and the crowded planes resulting from all-time-high load factors.

If you're into the details, you can see (and download) the entire report from the DOT website.

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