Complaints about Flights Rise Nearly 50%

If you had a problems with a flight in June and you got upset, you weren’t alone. According to the latest Department of Transportation statistics, complaints rose by 47.3% in June compared to June 2014.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney says, make your voice heard.

What People Complain About

The total number of complaints in June: 2,052. Not a vast figure considering how many millions fly each year (815 million in 2012) but the numbers are up.

“It starts with delayed and cancelled flights,” said travel expert and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney. Indeed, U.S. airlines reported that 22.9% of all domestic flights were delayed in June for a variety of reasons (bad weather, maintenance issues and more). Seaney suggested passengers could cope with this, but added, “It’s the aftermath, how airlines handle – and sometimes, mishandle – the ensuing problems that so often breeds complaints.”

According to the statistics, these were the June winners and losers for on-time arrival rates.

  • Highest on-time arrival rates: Hawaiian, Alaska and Delta.
  • Lowest on-time arrival rates: Spirit, United and Frontier.

Also on the rise from May to June were the instances of ‘mishandled’ or at least temporarily lost baggage. “On the bright side,” said Seaney, “bumping or oversold flight complaints for the first six months of the year were down compared to the same period last year.”

You won’t complain about these cheap flights

How to File a Complaint

Complaints made to airlines are not included in Department of Transportation statistics but you may wish to start there.

  • If you’d like to complain to an airline, learn more here.
  • If you’d like to complain to the DOT (online, written or phone call), learn more here.
  • If you’d like to complain to the TSA about airport security, learn more here and here.


Updated: August 13, 2015