Ranking The Airlines

Monday, April 4, 2011 - 2:41pm

Annual study finds airline performance improves over last year.

In spite of some dramatic in flight emergencies lately, airlines are doing better when it comes to quality.

A new study ranks the 16 largest carriers.

Airtran ranked number one in the study when it comes to on time arrivals, baggage handling, involuntary bumping and complaints.

Hawaiian, JetBlue, Alaska, and Southwest round out the top five while regional carrier American Eagle finished last.

While airlines improved their performance based on the Department of Transportation data, overall passengers aren't finding the skies all that friendly.

In fact complaints about airline performance were up a hefty 28 percent.

Delays and cancellations prompted the most flyer frustration; airlines cutting back on flights means fewer seats for rebooking.

As for baggage, only 3.5 bags were mishandled per thousand passengers last year, the lowest rate in two decades.

Still, customers may just be keeping more luggage in the cabin because of all those fees.

One thing that has really gotten better though is tarmac strandings.

Federal laws now impose as much as $27,500 per passenger if they are stuck waiting on planes for more than three hours without the chance to get off.

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