Airline Complaints Rose This Summer but Some Good News for Passengers

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Transportation about airline performance has good news and bad news for the nation’s carriers – and passengers.

LISTEN: Yes, airline complaints are down – but don’t worry, there’s still plenty!

The Bad News

Complaints: According to the new statistic which cover July, complaints about airline service rose more than 18 percent over June (and they were also up from July 2013). The vast majority of the complaints had to do with flight problems, such as cancelations, delays and/or missed connections. The next biggest category: Problems with baggage. Here are complaint statistics, per 100,000 enplanements.

If you have a complaint about air travel, here’s how to file it.

Airlines with most complaints:

  • Frontier: 4.22
  • United: 3.39
  • American: 2.57*

*Includes statistics for merger partner US Airways, which did worse than AA.

Airlines with fewest complaints:

  • Alaska: 0.44
  • Southwest: 0.62
  • Delta: 0.67

The Good News

On-time arrivals: Despite summer storms, the nation’s airlines improved their on-time arrival rate in July, doing better than July of 2013 as well as from June of this year.

Lost luggage: Continuing improvement on the lost bag front, or as the government calls it, “mishandle baggage.” July’s mishandled rate was 3.55 reports per 1,000 passengers which was down from the rate in June and also from July 2013. So why all the baggage complaints? Maybe more are speaking up.

Good news is finding an airfare deal

Question for Readers

Did you have a complaint – or a compliment – about an airline this summer? Tell us all about it.


Published: September 11, 2014