Frontier Airlines improves on-time record, complaint rate

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Frontier Airlines ranked in fifth place among 12 major airlines for on-time performance in February, its highest ranking for timely flights in three months, according to a according to a federal report today.

Denver-based Frontier also scored a modest gain against other airlines in its customer-complaint rate in February, according to the new Air Travel Consumer Report from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Frontier is the third-busiest airline at Denver International Airport, behind No. 1 United Airlines and No. 2 Southwest Airlines.

In February, 82.3 percent of Frontier’s flights arrived on time at U.S. airports, slightly behind the 12-airline average of 82.6 percent. But that was good enough for a fifth-place ranking behind Delta Air Lines (with 89.5 percent of flights on time), American Airlines (85.2 percent), and ExpressJet Airlines and Southwest Airlines (both 82.4 percent).

United came in seventh, with a February on-time rate of 81.5 percent.

That was Frontier’s highest ranking since November, when it finished fourth. It was second-to-last in January and last in December 2016. Frontier also ranks second-to-last for on-time flights over the 12 months ending in February.

The DOT considers a flight that arrives within 15 minute of its posted arrival time to be on-time.

As for consumer complaints, Frontier in February had the third-worst record among 12 major airlines for consumer complaints, with 2.21 complaints per 100,000 passengers. Only Spirit Airlines (3.42 per 100,000) and Virgin America (3.63 per 100,000) had poorer records; the average rate was 1.02 per 100,000.

Still, Frontier fared better than its norm of recent months. The airline posted the worst complaint record of any big airline in November, December and January and the second-worst for several months before that.

In February, Southwest had the lowest complaint rate (0.32 per 100,000). United came in ninth, with 1.72 per 100,00.

The complaints listed in the DOT report cover a wide range of issues, including cancellations, delays, baggage handling mistakes and reservations and ticketing problems.

The report does not cover safety or security complaints, which are filed with other agencies.

Earlier this month, Frontier’s parent company filed paperwork to once again trade its shares on the public market, the first initial public offering by a U.S. airline in more than three years.

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