Delta Fifth, AirTran 12th in On-Time Rankings

Delta Air Lines cruised near the top of the rankings for on-time flights in May, while AirTran Airways showed improvement but still lagged its rival, according to the Department of Transportation's latest survey.

Delta ranked fifth among 20 airlines for on-time performance, with 82.2 percent of flights on time in May. Several months ago, the carrier placed in the bottom half of the same rankings.

Cincinnati-based regional carrier Comair, which is operated by Delta, ranked 10th, while Atlanta-based partner Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which has been taking on more former Delta flights, was 15th.

AirTran, the second-largest carrier in Atlanta, ranked 12th, after hitting as high as the industry's fourth-best on-time performance in March.

The DOT defines on-time flights as those that arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. Hawaiian was the on-time leader in the industry, with 95 percent of flights arriving within that time window.

Both Delta and AirTran generally have been climbing in the DOT's on-time rankings since launching programs to boost their performance. Delta, which has reduced its capacity since filing for bankruptcy last September, has shown a bigger improvement after retooling its flight schedules and boarding procedures and linking employee bonuses to customer service measures.

Delta ranked 11th in May in mishandled baggage complaints, with 4.75 reports per 1,000 passengers, and 16th in customer complaints, with 0.93 per 100,000 passengers. ASA had the second-worst rate of mishandled luggage, at 11.33 complaints per 1,000 passengers. Comair was 17th.

AirTran, which until last year had one of the lowest rates of baggage complaints, was ninth in May's rankings with 4.41 baggage complaints per 1,000.

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