Hawaiian tops airline rankings

Hawaiian Airlines ranked first in an annual quality study of the nation's 18 major airlines, with AirTran Airways coming in second.

American Eagle came in last, with Atlantic Southeast next to last.

The study ranks airlines in four major categories: on-time performance, denied boardings, mishandled baggage and customer complaints.

The annual report is done by Wichita State University associate professor of marketing Dean Headley and Purdue University professor Brent Bowen.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best overall score, the second consecutive year it's come in first. The airline ranked first in on-time performance and had the second-lowest denied boardings and mishandled baggage rates.

AirTran Airways, which serves Wichita, had the lowest number of mishandled bags of all the airlines. The airline has ranked in the top three for the past six years.

The industry score improved in 2009 over the prior year because of overall improvements in on-time arrivals, mishandled bags and fewer customer complaints.

Involuntary denied boardings, meanwhile, increased from the prior year.

Here's how the airlines ranked:

1. Hawaiian Airlines

2. AirTran Airways

3. Jet Blue

4. Northwest Airlines

5. Southwest Airlines

6. Continental Airlines

7. Frontier Airlines

8. US Airways

9. American Airlines

10. ExpressJet Airlines

11. Alaska Airlines

12. Mesa Airlines

13. United Airlines

14. SkyWest Airlines

15. Delta Air Lines

16. Comair

17. Atlantic Southeast Airlines

18. American Eagle