Americans Are Pretty Happy Fliers So Far in 2016

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The number of complaints against airlines has nosedived 12 percent this year. Find out what may be behind the positive change.

Airlines are doing a better job of keeping fliers happy this year.

That’s according to a new air travel consumer report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which revealed that travelers filed 12.2 percent fewer complaints during the first half of 2016 than they did during the same period in 2015. Overall, complaints dropped from 9,542 at this time last year to 8,376 this year.

The DOT says fliers have griped less about delays and canceled or missed flights. Consumers have also had fewer complaints about customer service, airfare, ticketing and boarding.

Meanwhile, the number of complaints about airline discrimination and airlines’ treatment of disabled customers both rose during the first half of 2016.

It’s worth noting that any complaints DOT received as a result of Delta Air Line’s massive computer outage earlier this month — which created chaos for travelers and airports across the globe, leading to the delay or cancellation of thousands of flights — were not included, since the report only goes through June.

The DOT says ExpressJet and Southwest fared the best in this report, with both airlines earning less than one complaint per 200,000 customers, CNN Money reports. American Airlines and United each had 2.4 complaints per 100,000 fliers.

The DOT says these airlines had the highest on-time performance during the first six months of 2016:

  1. Hawaiian Airlines: 91.1 percent
  2. Alaska Airlines: 86.4 percent
  3. SkyWest Airlines: 84.6 percent

Based on consumer complaints, if you want to reach your destination on time, you may want to avoid the following airlines, which had the lowest on-time arrival rate for the first half of this year:

  1. American Airlines: 72.4 percent
  2. Virgin America: 72.6 percent
  3. Spirit Airlines: 73 percent

Which airline is your favorite to fly? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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