US airline performance soars in 2012

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- When it comes to flying, some of the more common complaints we hear at 3 On Your Side are overpriced tickets and overcrowding. But there's a new report indicating things might be improving. 

According to a report from Wichita State University and Purdue University, airline performance in 2012 had the second-best rating ever.

A positive area, more planes are landing on time. Of the 14 airlines rated, eight showed improvement, compared to the prior year.

Overall, most carriers arrived on time 82 percent of the time. But some of that could be due to the fact that there are fewer planes in the sky and fewer planes equal fewer delays. 

The top dog when it comes to being on time was Hawaiian Airlines. Not a huge surprise because Hawaiian Airlines travel to a warm-weather destination, so it's rarely delayed for bad weather. 

Another area of improvement: fewer bags are being lost. Mishandled luggage is at a 25-year low. Virgin America gets top marks there because less than 1 in a thousand bags goes missing on its watch. Although, the overall improvement might be because more people are doing carry-on luggage to avoid fees.

But when it comes to passenger complaints, United Airlines gets the top bill. Overall, airline customer complaints are up a whopping 20 percent from last year. Southwest Airlines, by the way, had the fewest complaints.