American Airlines

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DALLAS — Think flying is getting worse? A pair of university researchers who track the airline business say it’s a fact.

More flights are late, more bags are getting lost, and customers are lodging more complaints about U.S. airlines, government data shows. Dean Headley, a marketing professor at Wichita State and one of the co-authors of an annual report — now in its 25th year — being released Monday, said passengers already know that air travel is getting worse. “We just got the numbers to prove it.”

For the third straight year, Virgin America led the rankings. The niche airline with a limited route network was followed by Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Among other findings in the report:

LATENESS: The percentage of flights that arrived on time fell to 76.2 percent last year from 78.4 percent in 2013. Best: Hawaiian Airlines. Worst: Envoy Air, which operates most American Eagle flights.

FORT WORTH — American Airlines is marking a merger milestone and US Airways is one step closer toward extinction. The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday granted the two airlines the authority to operate as a single carrier.

The FAA decision means that American Airlines Group Inc. can combine work forces, websites and reservations systems starting this fall, but passengers won’t notice much difference right away.

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In what was a rare move, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott initially teamed up with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to oppose the merger involving Fort Worth-based American Airlines, but he has now reversed course.

Abbot’s said the new deal with American Airlines and U.S. Airways satisfies his concern that the merger would negatively impact services to some of Texas’ smaller airports.

By an overwhelming 74 percent margin, American Airlines pilots have voted to ratify the tentative contract hammered out with the bankrupt carrier. Voting ended Friday at noon.