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Delta is "most reliable" airline, but also among "least economical," says WalletHub

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines was named the most reliable airline to avoid cancellations, delays, mishandled luggage and denied boardings by personal finance website WalletHub.

That may be a surprise to Delta customers who have had a vacation or business trip disrupted by a lengthy delay or lost bag.

The bad news: Delta and Southwest Airlines -- the two largest carriers in Atlanta -- were named the two "least economical" airlines by WalletHub. Ultra low-cost carrier Spirit was named the best airline for budget flyers.

In an overall ranking of the best airlines, Delta came in the No. 5 position, with Virgin America at the No. 1 spot. Virgin America is being acquired by Alaska Air.

Delta ended 2015 with 85.9 percent of its flights arriving on time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and has improved its performance in baggage handling and other areas in recent years.

Still, Delta's on-time performance rate meant a roughly 1 out of 7 chance of ending up with a delayed flight. And one of the least reliable carriers is ExpressJet, which operations Delta Connection regional jet flights for Delta.


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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.