It may not be a news flash to frequent air travelers, but fewer flights were on time and more baggage was mishandled in 2007 than in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report, issued last week.

The on-time arrival rate dropped to 73 percent in 2007, down from 75 percent in 2006, while there were seven reports of mishandled baggage per 1,000 passengers, up from 6.7 per 1,000 in 2006. In addition, the number of complaints about airline service was up sharply last year. Travelers filed 13,168 complaints about airline service with the DOT in 2007—58 percent more than the 8,325 filed in 2006.

Among the 20 largest carriers, Hawaiian Airlines had the best performance, with 93 percent of flights arriving on time. Aloha Airlines was second with an on-time arrival percentage of 92 percent, followed by Southwest Airlines at 80 percent. Frontier was next at 78 percent, followed by Delta at 77 percent.

The worst performer was Atlantic Southeast Airlines with an on-time arrival rate of 65 percent. Comair (68 percent), US Airways (69 percent), American Airlines (69 percent), American Eagle (69 percent), and Northwest (70 percent) make up the bottom of the list.

The chief reasons for delay were late-arriving aircraft (38 percent); air carrier delay or circumstances within the carrier’s control, such as maintenance or crew problems, fueling, cleaning, etc. (28 percent); and National Aviation System delays, which relate to air traffic control issues (28 percent).

For more detailed information, go to the U.S. DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics Web site.