By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We have some good news to report for air travelers, U.S. airlines scored their second best performance last year in more than two decades. That’s according to researchers that measure airline quality. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan breaks down the numbers.
Government data was examined for on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, consumer complaints and passengers with tickets who were denied seats due to overbooking’s.
For on-time arrivals: 81.8 percent of flights arrived on time last year that’s up slightly from 80 percent in 2011. Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time performance in 2012 with 93.4 percent of its flights arriving on time. ExpressJet and American had the worst record. Only 76.9 percent of their planes arrived on time.
Paying a fee to check bags is having an apparent good effect on lost luggage. 3.07 bags were mishandled for every 1,000 passengers. That’s down by more than half since 2007 when lost bag claims peaked at 7.01 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers.
Despite on-time and baggage improvements, passengers are getting more grumpier. The government received 1.43 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. United had the most complaints, Southwest the fewest. Full flights means bumping was up too. Just under one passenger was bumped for every 1,0000 passengers boarded.
Researchers at Wichita State University and Purdue University then ranked the airlines based on average of the four scores.
Here is how they ranked:
1) Virgin America
9) US Airways
11) American Eagle
United Airlines had the worst performance due in part to it’s turbulent merger with Continental and the problems it faced as the carrier combines the operations.