By Jim Donovan: I’ve got some good news for air travelers. Airlines are getting better at making sure that your baggage arrives at your destination at the same time that you do!

According to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), the nation’s airlines reported their lowest rate of mishandled baggage in 18 years. There were a little more than 3 reports of mishandled baggage per 1,000 passengers last year. (personal observation – perhaps the improvement is due to the fact that less bags are checked due to the fact that you have to take out a home equity loan to afford the fees!)

Also, it seems that the commuter airlines continue to lose more luggage than the big carriers.

From January through December of 2012 here’s how the airlines ranked from Best to Worst:

1. Virgin America (Best)
2. Airtran
3. Jet Blue
4. Delta
5. US Airways
6. Frontier
7. Hawaiian
8. American
9. Alaska
10. Southwest
11. United
12. Mesa
13. Skywest
14. ExpressJet
15. American Eagle (Worst)

America’s largest airlines also posed a nearly 82% on-time arrival rate in 2012. Here was the ranking from Best to Worst.

1. Hawaiian (Best)
2. Alaska
3. Airtran
4. Delta
5. US Airways
6. Mesa
7. Virgin America
8. Southwest
9. American Eagle
10. Skywest
11. JetBlue
12. Frontier
13. United
14. American
15. ExpressJet (Worst)

Wait times are also getting better. There were 42 tarmac delays longer than three hours on U-S domestic flights. That’s down from 50 delays in 20-11, the first full year the tarmac rule went into effect.

So how does Philly stack up? Well in the most recent DOT Air Travel Consumer Report covering December of 2012, 76.9% of arrivals were on-time at Philadelphia International and 81.5% of departures left the gate as scheduled. (That’s 6,331 arrivals and 6,340 departures)

Of the three biggest carriers that service PHL, US Airways had a 81.2 % on-time arrival record in December, Delta’s record was 80.1%, and Southwest clocked in at 64.7%.

To read the entire Air Travel Consumer Report visit:

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