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Government reports decline in airlines' on-time record, but passengers file fewer complaints

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Airlines are falling behind when it comes to keeping flights on schedule, but fewer passengers are complaining to the government.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday that 83.5 per cent of domestic flights arrived on time in November, down from 84.1 per cent in October and 85.7 per cent a year earlier, in November 2012.

Hawaiian Airlines claimed its customary spot at the top of the ratings, with 94 per cent of flights arriving within 14 minutes of schedule. Of the 16 reporting carriers, Frontier, ExpressJet and Southwest held down the bottom three spots; all had on-time ratings below 80 per cent.

The 16 airlines cancelled 5,082 flights in November, or 1 per cent of their schedules.

There were 15 flights that were held on the ground longer than allowed by federal regulations, but all occurred after a shooting in the terminal disrupted operations at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 1.

Consumers filed 23.6 per cent fewer complaints about airlines with the Transportation Department; 755 in November, compared with 988 in November 2012. The top complaint was flight problems, including cancellations and delays.

Another frequent subject of complaints was bag-handling. Virgin America, JetBlue Airways and Delta Air Lines had the best ratings for bags, while American Eagle, AirTran Airways and ExpressJet had the worst.

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Transportation Department report: http://1.usa.gov/1eC2U3j

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