Major US Airlines Perform Poorly in Wall Street Journal Report

Bad news for some of America's biggest airlines: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that American Airlines has ranked dead last in customer service in the paper's annual Middle Seat analysis of major domestic carriers. United and Continental Airlines, still struggling through their merger, scored almost as poorly as American.

On a brighter note, the best-performing carrier last year was Alaska Airlines, the smallest among the seven major U.S. airlines. And in a surprise showing, Delta Air Lines scored a big turnaround, placing second in 2011 compared with ninth in 2010.

The Middle Seat scorecard ranks major carriers each year on a number of key measures important to travelers: on-time arrivals, long delays, canceled flights, mishandled bags, passengers bumped from flights and complaints filed with the Department of Transportation. Data come from DOT and FlightStats.com, a flight-tracking service that collects real-time flight information from airlines, airports and the Federal Aviation Administration.

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