06/15/2012 02:41 pm ET

New Statistics Show Slight Improvements In Air Travel

Could air travel actually be getting better? In an era of declining everything, this question almost sounds impertinent, but new numbers from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics show that airlines were on-time 86.3 percent of the time in April, a jump of 10.8 percent over last April and 4.1 percent over March.

Incidents of "mishandled luggage," the industry term-of-art for lost bags, are also on the decline, ABC News reports. The new studies show bag mishandlings are "at the lowest levels they've been since data started being collected in 1987." Only 2.6 out of 1,000 bags were lost in April, the BTS reports, a decline from 3.3 in April 2011. (Not all mishandled bags are lost forever.)

Another bright spot for travelers: The amount of dreaded fees the airlines rake in annually has dipped slightly according to the BTS. Though on the decline, airlines still hauled in more than $3 billion in fees in 2011.

But for all the good news, the BTS reports that air travel has a long way to go before passenger satisfaction surges:

In April, the Department received 1,068 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 21.4 percent from the 880 complaints received in April 2011, but down 4.4 percent from the 1,117 complaints filed in March 2012.



Airline Fees