NEW YORK – U.S. airlines are more punctual and less likely to lose your bag than at any time in more than two decades.
Nearly 84% of domestic flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled time in the first half of the year — the best performance since the government started keeping track in 1988.
The improvement over the first six months of 2011, when 77% of flights were on time, is mostly a result of good weather and fewer planes in the sky because of the weak economy.
Airlines are also doing a better job of handling bags. Fewer than three suitcases per 1,000 passengers were reported lost, damaged or delayed from January through June, a record low.
The two areas of improvement are related: When flights are late, bags often miss their connection.
“My flights this year have been way better,” said Amanda Schuier, a sales manager for a Kansas City, Mo., trucking supplier who flies roughly four times a week. “In the past six months, I’ve only had two delays.”
If the current pace continues, the airlines will beat their best full-year performance, recorded in 1991, when nearly 83% of flights arrived on time. The worst full year was 2000, when just 73% of flights arrived on time, according to an Associated Press analysis of Bureau of Transportation Statistics data.
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