Delta, American top latest U.S. rankings for on-time flights

WASHINGTON (AP) — Airlines are running late more often than last year, but they are canceling fewer flights and complaints are down sharply, according to the latest government figures.

Delta Air Lines had the best on-time rating, followed by American Airlines. Virgin America, which is now owned by the parent of Alaska Airlines, finished last.

The Transportation Department said Tuesday that 82.6 percent of flights in February arrived within 14 minutes of schedule, the government’s definition of on time. That’s down from the 83.6 percent on-time rate a year earlier.

Airlines canceled 1.5 percent of U.S. flights in February, down from 1.6 percent in February 2016. Passengers were most likely to have a flight canceled on JetBlue Airways.

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The figures for delays and cancellations count only the 12 largest U.S. airlines and exclude Allegiant and some regional carriers.

Consumers filed 596 complaints with the government about U.S. airlines in February, down nearly half from 1,111 in the same month last year.

Southwest Airlines had the lowest complaint rate, while Virgin America and Spirit Airlines had the worst rates.

Only about one in 100,000 passengers filed a complaint with the government. Many more complain directly to the airlines, but the carriers are not required to disclose those numbers.

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Here are the government’s rankings of the leading U.S. airlines and their on-time performance for February. The federal government counts a flight as on time if it arrives no more than 14 minutes behind the scheduled time.

1. Delta Air Lines, 89.5 percent

2. American Airlines, 85.2 percent

3. ExpressJet, 82.4 percent

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4. Southwest Airlines, 82.4 percent

5. Frontier Airlines, 82.3 percent

6. Spirit Airlines, 81.6 percent

7. United Airlines, 81.5 percent

8. SkyWest, 79.8 percent

9. Hawaiian Airlines, 78.2 percent

10. Alaska Airlines, 77.6 percent

11. JetBlue Airways, 72.3 percent

12. Virgin America, 64.6 percent

Total for all covered airlines: 82.6 percent

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

The report does not cover smaller airlines including Allegiant Air and some regional carriers.