Now arriving on time: Your flight and suitcase

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(AP) – U.S. airlines are more punctual and less likely to lose your bag than at any time in more than two decades.

Nearly 84 percent of domestic flights arrived within 15 minutes of their schedule time in the first half of the year – the best performance since the government started tracking such data in 1988.

The improvement over the first six months of 2011 is mostly the result of good weather and fewer planes in the sky because of weak demand. And there’s a side benefit: Fewer than three suitcases per 1,000 passengers were reported lost, damaged or delayed in the first half of the year, a record low.

These trends aren’t just good for passengers. Airlines will benefit too. Delays cost the industry more than $5 billion last year.

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