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Airline Report Card: Delays Are Up

Thursday, 11 Jul 2013 | 11:03 AM ET
Airline Report Card
Thursday, 11 Jul 2013 | 1:55 PM ET
CNBC's Phil LeBeau reports the latest data on delays in the airline industry, saying mishandled baggage complaints increased in May.

U.S.-based airlines landed fewer flights on time in May compared with the same time last year as the industry adjusted to full schedules following the furloughs of air traffic controllers because of sequester cuts by the FAA.

For the month, nearly four out of every five flights in the United States were on time. The arrival rate of 79.4 percent matched what the industry has done for the first five months of the year, according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

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In April, airline on-time performance slipped as air traffic control centers were understaffed because of FAA sequester cuts. After nearly two weeks of long delays, Congress approved funding that allowed full staffing of air traffic control centers.

Carrier On-Time Arrival Pct.
1 Hawaiian 92.37
2 Alaska 89.62
3 Delta 86.24
4 AirTran 83.11
5 SkyWest 82.21
6 US Airways 81.99
7 Pinnacle 81.16
8 JetBlue 80.28
9 United 79.72
10 Southwest 79.01
11 Virgin America 78.14
12 American 76.22
13 ExpressJet 73.89
14 Mesa 73.83
15 Frontier 73.23
16 American Eagle 69.89
All Airlines 79.42
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Hawaiian Airlines has traditionally led the industry for on-time arrivals and departures.

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One helpful factor is the relatively mild weather Hawaiian deals with at many of its destinations. But weather alone is not the only reason an airline is able to stick to its schedule. Another factor is how much it flies into some of the country's most congested airports and whether the airport has a tendency to put that type of flight on hold.

That is often the case with smaller, regional airlines flying from smaller cities into major hubs.

Mishandled Baggage Complaints Rising

As the airlines head into the summer travel season, complaints about mishandled bags increased.

Vincenzo Lombardo | Getty Images

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The Department of Transportation reports the industry mishandled 2.96 bags for every 1,000 passengers flying. That is a slight increase compared with May of last year when the complaint rate was 2.77 per 1,000 passengers.

By CNBC's Phil LeBeau. Follow him on Twitter: @Lebeaucarnews.

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