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Frontier surpasses United as worst airline based on complaints

DALLAS — Denver-based Frontier Airlines has surpassed United Airlines as being the worst airline based on passenger complaints, according to researchers who studied consumer complaints to the government in 2013.

Frontier began in 1994 in Denver and its only hub is out of Denver International Airport. DIA is also a hub for United.

Overall complaints dropped 15 percent last year according to the report, which was done by researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and was released Monday. The researchers looked at the 15 largest airlines, who submit reports each month to the U.S. Department of Transportation.For on-time performance, airlines were at 78.4 percent being on time, down from 81.8 percent in 2012. Hawaiian Airlines was the best and American Eagle was the worst.

When it came to bag handling, the rate of lost, stolen or delayed bags was up 5 percent, with Virgin America being the best and American Eagle the worst.

Wichita State business professor Dean Headley, one of the authors of the report, told The Associated Press that United had numerous computer-network outages and hundreds of grounded of flights in 2012 as it merged with Continental Airlines, but “got their act together.”In all the Department of Transportation received 9,684 complaints after getting 11,447 in 2012.Virgin America topped the list as the best airline, according to the report, followed by JetBlue, Hawaiian and Delta.