Virgin America best U.S. airline performer in 2012

By Joan Lowy

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 8 2013 10:17 p.m. MDT

In this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 photo, passengers travel through an airport in Miami. Private researchers, who have analyzed federal data on airline performance, say in a report being released Monday, April 8, 2013, that consumer complaints to the Department of Transportation surged by one-fifth last year even though other measures such as on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage show airlines are doing a better job. "The way airlines have taken 130-seat airplanes and expanded them to 150 seats to squeeze out more revenue I think is finally catching up with them,? says Dean Headley, a business professor at Wichita State University, who has co-written the annual report for 23 years. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — A report on airline quality says U.S. airlines scored their second best performance last year, with Virgin America the leader.

The annual report released Monday ranked the 14 largest U.S. airlines based on on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, consumer complaints and passengers who were bought tickets, but were turned away because flights were over booked.

Airline performance in 2012 was the second highest in the 23 years that researchers at Wichita State University at Omaha in Nebraska and Purdue University in Indiana have tracked the performance of airlines.

Virgin America did the best job on baggage handling.

United Airlines, whose consumer complaint rate nearly doubled last year, had the worst performance.

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