ATLANTA, Ga. (www.nbc33.com) -- To sample public opinion about the state of air travel these days, head to the biggest airport in the nation, Atlanta.
It turns out, in today's annual ranking of the airlines, the little guys come out ahead.
Low cost carriers as a whole tend to outperform the more established, long-term main line carriers. Analysts say low cost carriers are often more nimble, quicker to recover from a stumble.
It's all in the numbers: overall, airlines continue to improve their on-time performance.
In 2012, nearly 82% of flights were on-time compared with 80% in 2011.
One big reason is that carriers are padding their schedules to give themselves more time in case of bad weather or delays. Hawaiian Air, Alaska, Airtran, Delta and US Airways had the best on-time numbers. Jet Blue, Frontier, United, Express Jet and American were at the bottom of the list.
There were fewer lost bags while slightly more travelers were bumped from flights in 2012. But passenger complaints dropped.
Are travellers getting used to packed planes, paying for bags, legroom, meals and even carry-ons?
“Unfortunately, the state of air travel today is the new normal. I don't think we're ever going to see the golden age of air travel come back again, and that's just the sad fact of it."
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