PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 757 taking off. (photo via Flickr/Enrique)
A report released Monday found that airlines in the United States have improved their on-time performance and are losing fewer bags on average.
According to The Associated Press, researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University released a study that found airlines improved in key categories, including on-time performance, baggage handling, bumping passengers off oversold flights and complaints filed with the government.
The report found that the percentage of that arrived on time climbed to 81.4 percent in 2016 from 79.9 percent in 2015, with all but three of the top 12 airlines in the U.S. improving. Only American, JetBlue and Virgin America saw the percentage drop.
In addition, the study found that the odds of bags being lost, stolen or delayed fell 17 percent, the odds of passengers being bumped from a flight due to overbooking had fallen 18 percent and that complaints filed with the government dropped 20 percent.
While the improved numbers are a welcome sight for travelers, some pundits don’t think the analytical approach to the report truly indicates how the airlines are treating their customers. Following the recent delays and cancellations from Delta Air Lines and a video of security officers pulling a passenger off of a United Airlines flight, some travelers are skeptical.
READ MORE: Delta Shines Through Weather-Related Delays, Cancellations
Part of the problem for some analysts is that the Department of Transportation counts a flight as “on time” as long as it arrives within 14 minutes of its scheduled arrival time. Aviation consultant Michael Baiada told The AP that,” Airlines are happy with that (grace period) because it makes them look better and misleads the passenger.”
“The data really doesn't take into consideration how the customer is treated,” TripAdvisor executive Bryan Saltzburg said in a statement. “How comfortable are they on the plane? How helpful is the staff? What's the value for what the customer paid?”