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The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines in May

Most recent airline stats reveal a lot of unhappy customers

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U.S. airlines are trying harder to make sure their flights are on time and planes don’t sit on the tarmac for hours, recently released transportation statistics show. But those good intentions are making very little difference to their passengers, who are feeling a lot less love for their carriers these days.

Those are the big takeaways from the Department of Transportation’s most recent monthly Air Travel Consumer Report. In May, the nation’s airlines posted average on-time performance of 83.4% — that’s a big improvement from the dismal 77.1% one year earlier, but a slip from the 86.3% rate posted in April 2012.

That’s pretty good performance, comparatively speaking. But complaints jumped anyway, rising 18% from a year earlier to 1,260 in May, also up from 1,068 in April 2012. Reports of lost or damaged bags were better than last year at 2.77 per 1,000 passengers, though worse than April’s 2.63 per 1,000 passengers.

But not all airlines are alike when it comes to performance. Here are May 2012’s Best and Worst Airlines as measured by performance in three areas: on-time flights, mishandled baggage and complaints:

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