WASHINGTON (AP) -- Airlines' efforts to bring back passengers after the Sept. 11 attacks are being helped by more on-time arrivals, fewer bags being lost and fewer travelers being bumped, said a study released Monday.
The annual study by two professors found that customer service was improving even before the terrorist attacks, and continued as airlines scheduled fewer flights when business dropped off in their aftermath.
"They were doing pretty good before they got to September 11," said study co-author Dean Headley, an associate professor of marketing at Wichita State University. "After September 11, with a more rational system -- fewer passengers, fewer airplanes, fewer flights -- it worked better."
Rather than canceled or delayed flights, passengers instead face increased security, sometimes being told to arrive two hours before their scheduled takeoff because of lines at screening checkpoints.
The report, issued by Headley and Brent Bowen, director of the aviation institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, was funded by the universities.
Based on data collected by the U.S. Transportation Department, the study found that last year:
-- Flights of 11 carriers were on time 77.4 percent of the time, up from 72.6 percent in 2000.
-- The Transportation Department received 2.11 complaints for every 100,000 passengers, a decline from 2.98 in 2000.
-- For every 1,000 bags checked, airlines mishandled or lost 4.55, down from 5.29 in 2000.
-- The rate of passengers being bumped from flights against their wishes dropped to 0.86 per 10,000 from 1.04 in 2001.
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