How to File a Complaint for Any Airline or Security Problem

Your bag is missing or your flight is delayed or canceled. Or maybe you got treated terribly at security. What to do? Complain. Formally and officially. Airlines won’t know there’s an issue unless you tell them and most will try to resolve valid problems.

Bookmark this page: It includes all the links you need to file a complaint to achieve some sort of resolution.

Air travel expert Rick Seaney has filed a few complaints in his time, listen as he walks you through it:

Airline Complaints

When you fill out an online form or send an email on your own, don’t vent. Just tell what happened as briefly as possible, and be sure to include date, flight number(s) and any other pertinent details – along with your own contact information.

Click the airline name to be linked to its complaint center:

Note: You can also use these links to send your airline a compliment.

Important – Filing Baggage Claims

If there is a problem with a lost or damaged bag, do not leave the airport without filing a claim. This is obvious advice for a lost bag and you simply get a claim form from the airline baggage office (usually located by the bag carousel) and fill it out on the spot.

However, with a damaged bag you must do the same. Check your bag carefully before you head outside because if you wait until you get home to report damage, it will probably be too late (the airline will argue that the damage could have occurred during the trip from the airport to your home).

TSA Security Complaints

The TSA actually makes it pretty easy to file a complaint but read the fine print and you’ll notice some problems may take weeks or even months to resolve. Here are four useful links:

Department of Transportation Complaints

If you’ve complained to your airline and gotten no response – or what you consider an unsatisfactory response – you can always file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.

Note: The DOT regularly publishes these airline complaint figures for all to see.

When All Else Fails

Get on social media, especially Twitter which many airlines pay close attention to (read about Kevin Smith’s volcanic twitter rant against Southwest). Even if your airline doesn’t respond to your tweets, you may at least get some satisfaction out of unloading on all your followers.

More from Rick Seaney:

Got a Gripe? How to File Any Air Travel Complaint

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Published: April 11, 2013