Flight cancellations, mishandled bags fall to record lows

Airlines canceled 1.17 percent of scheduled domestic flights last year, the best performance in the 22 years the government has been tracking the issue, the U.S. Transportation Department said on Tuesday.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, airlines have a weak track record.

The cancellation rate was a significant improvement over the 1.5 percent of flights canceled in 2015 and fell below the previous low of 1.24 percent in 2002.

For the year, Hawaiian also ranked first for fewest involuntary passengers denied boarding with 0.05 per 10,000 passengers, placed seventh for fewest consumer complaints with 1.16 per 100,000 passengers and ranked seventh for fewest mishandled-baggage reports with 2.67 per 1,000 passengers.

So you might think it's all upgrades and free snacks in the air.

Overbooked flights were less of a problem past year for ticketed passengers, as airlines bumped fewer fliers.

Airlines have added extra fees for many things that used to be included in the ticket price.

Airlines canceled fewer flights and lost fewer bags in 2016.

Last year was a pretty good year for air travel. A flight is counted as "on time" if it is operated less than 15 minutes after the scheduled time. But December's on-time rate of 75.6 percent was down from 77.8 percent in the previous December. In December Hawaiian led the way with an 85.1 percent on-time performance. Hawaiian offers non-stop service to Hawai'i from more USA gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti.

The airlines reported that one bag was lost, stolen or delayed for every 370 passengers, the best rate since the Transportation Department started tracking the figure in 1987. The previous low was 3.09 in 2012. Spirit Airlines ranked last for 2016, but rival budget carrier Frontier Airlines was last in December.

  • Zachary Reyes