According to the annual Airline Quality Ratings airlines are doing a better job overall

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The annual Airline Quality Ratings were released today with some good news for consumers. It appears airlines are doing a better job overall, including being on-time, keeping track of passenger bags and generating fewer customer complaints. (Part of that is certainly because fewer people flew last year and airlines operated fewer flights.)

The ratings are based on stats from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The AQR scores for nearly all of the airlines rated in the survey improved in 2009 – Alaska Airlines was the only airline that showed no improvement. AirTran had the best score on mishandled baggage, while Southwest continues to have the fewest customer complaints and the best on-time rate.

The Top 5 performing airlines in the survey were virtually the same as last year’s report with the exception of Southwest, which moved up a notch. Here they are:

1. Hawaiian Airlines (1)

2. AirTran (2)

3. JetBlue (3)

4. Northwest (4)

5. Southwest (6)