What Do Airline Passengers Complain About?

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Transportation covering February 2015 notes that consumers registered 1,362 complaints about U.S. airlines. While this may not sound like much, it’s 16% higher than January’s complaint rate. Note: DOT figures don’t include complaints made directly to airlines.

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Most Common Airline Complaints

The majority of complaints fell under the heading of flight problems including cancellations, delays and missed connections. Since the report covers the winter month of February, it is likely most had to do with bad weather. The next biggest problem area: Baggage. This one is a little harder to understand since the rate of mishandled baggage dropped from January (and was also down from February 2014), but if your bag is the one that’s missing, you probably don’t care how many others made it to the carousel.

Fewer bags are lost, worldwide

Best and Worst Airlines for Complaints

Best: The top five airlines with the fewest complaints.

  1. Alaska
  2. Hawaiian
  3. Southwest
  4. SkyWest
  5. ExpressJet

Worst: The top five airlines with the most complaints.

  1. Frontier
  2. Spirit
  3. American
  4. United
  5. Virgin America

What we’d like to see: A ranking of airlines based on how well they respond to passenger complaints.


Updated: May 8, 2015