If you've had a bad experience with an airline lately, you're not alone. The number of consumer complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has soared by roughly 55 percent from a year ago, the agency said Monday.
For the first three months of 2015, the DOT received 4,580 complaints, a 14 percent spike from the same period last year. Of that number, 163 were by people who claimed that an airline mistreated them because of their disabilities, while three passengers said they were discriminated against because of their race, religion, national origin or sex.
Perhaps passengers' most common source of frustration, of course, are flight delays. The agency also ranked airlines according to their on-time performance in March.
The most punctual carrier? Hawaiian Airlines, with an industry-leading 85.7 percent of on-time arrivals, compared with 78.7 percent for all carriers. Here's how other airlines ranked.
1. Hawaiian Airlines, 87.3 percent
2. Alaska Airlines, 85.6 percent
3. Delta Air Lines, 84.0 percent
4. SkyWest, 82.5 percent
5. Southwest Airlines, 80 percent
6. US Airways, 79.1 percent
7. Virgin America, 78.9 percent
8. United Airlines, 78.2 percent
9. ExpressJet, 76.2 percent
10. American Airlines, 75.4 percent
11. Spirit Airlines, 73.9 percent
12. JetBlue Airways, 71.5 percent
13. Envoy Air, 67.8 percent
14. Frontier Airlines, 65.2 percent
Getting flyers to their destination on time isn't everything, it seems. Jet Blue (JBLU) landed among the bottom three airlines in terms of on-time performance. Yet the discount carrier recently scored top marks in a measure of customer satisfaction.
The most commonly cited reason for flight delays were problems with aviation systems, the department noted. That was followed by late-arriving aircraft, maintenance or crew issues, and bad weather.
Another bane of flying these days is discovering that your flight has -- often for no apparent reason -- suddenly been cancelled . The airline with the highest rate of cancelled flights in March, at 7.2 percent, was Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines), which is owned by American Airlines (AAL). Hawaiian Air again topped the list with the lowest rate of cancelled flights, at 0.2 percent, followed by Alaska Airlines (ALK) and Delta (DAL).