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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, a Delta Air Lines jet waits on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Delta tops an annual study that ranks US airlines by on-time arrivals, complaint rates, and other statistical measurements. Researchers who crunch the numbers say that U.S. airlines are getting better as a whole. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Delta Air Lines comes in first in a long-running study that ranks U.S. airlines by how often flights arrive on time and other statistical measures.

Researchers who crunch the numbers also said that as a whole, U.S. airlines are getting better at handling baggage and overcrowded flights and are getting fewer complaints.

Academics at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University released their annual study Monday. They used 2018 data collected by the U.S. Transportation Department on rates of on-time arrivals, mishandled baggage, bumping passengers and consumer complaints.

Delta was the only carrier to improve in all four categories, the researchers said. It rose from second place last year.

JetBlue Airways ranked second, followed by Southwest Airlines and last year’s winner, Alaska Airlines.

Discount carrier Frontier Airlines ranked last, just behind American Airlines.

Overall, the industry improved in three of the four categories in the study, including fewer passengers being involuntarily bumped from a flight.

For several years, airlines have been cutting that rate by enticing more customers to take vouchers or other compensation in exchange for volunteering to get off oversold flights.

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