As Delta Air Lines emerges from thousands of flight cancellations over five days following a thunderstorm, its 2016 performance gained it a No. 2 ranking in a new airline study released Monday.
The Airline Quality Rating put Delta in second place behind Alaska Airlines in the lead position.
Atlanta-based Delta inched up one place from a year ago in the ranking by researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Ariz campus. The ranking weighs federal data on baggage handling, customer complaints, denied boardings and on-time arrivals.
Overall, the airline industry had a record score due to improved performance on involuntary denied boardings and baggage handling, according to researchers.
But, passengers are "still complaining about the same things" -- delays, cancellations and other flight problems, said Wichita State University associate professor of marketing Dean Headley. "That disturbs me."
No. 3 in ranking is Virgin America, which fell from the No. 1 spot a year earlier and is merging with Alaska Airlines.
JetBlue, which recently launched service to Atlanta, came in fourth. Hawaiian Airlines came in fifth.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, the second-largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson, came in sixth.
At the bottom of the ranking in the No. 11 and No. 12 spots are ultra low-cost carriers Spirit and Frontier.
Airline Quality Rating ranking based on 2016 performance
- Virgin America