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Airlines set a record for delays in 2006

The airline with the best on-time record last year, it turns out, is actually “none of the above.” Airline delays increased dramatically last year according to a report by Alan Levin in yesterday’s USA Today.

Passengers were delayed for a collective 22.1 million minutes last year, or (put another way) delayed for at least 15 minutes on more than 20 percent of flights with large airlines. At some large airports, like Newark, about a third of all arrivals on major carriers were at least 15 minutes late.

This, of course, comes as no surprise to anyone who’s actually traveled in recent years. Between the air traffic snarls, major surge in lost baggage, and erosion of customer service and in-flight perks, travel these days is as much about dealing with hassles as getting to where you want to go.

And more bad news—it’s not like flights are getting any cheaper, either.

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