The nation's leading airlines posted one of their best-ever monthly on-time performances in October, the third straight month where more than 80 percent of flights arrived punctually.

A United Airlines jet (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A United Airlines jet (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Transportation Department said Monday that 87 percent of flights on the top 13 U.S. airlines arrived on time in October. That was up slightly from 86.5 percent in September. The two months now rank third and fourth, respectively, among the best on-time tallies in the 21 years where comparable records are available.

Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Air had the best ratings, while Spirit was the only airline with an on-time rating below 80 percent.

Cancellation rates remain low as well. The airlines cancelled 2,454 flights, or 0.5 percent of their schedules in October, second best all-time to the 0.4 percent rate recorded in September.

Even with the improvements, the number of consumer complaints about the U.S. airlines rose 32 percent, to 1,130 from 853 in October 2014. Spirit had the highest rate of complaints, followed by Frontier Airlines and American Airlines. Alaska Air had the lowest rate.

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