DOT: Client Air Service Complaints Surge

Complaints in opposition to U.S. airways and ticket brokers surged this yr within the first and a part of the second quarter, based on knowledge launched by the U.S. Division of Transportation on Wednesday after a several-month delay. 

DOT launched shopper service grievance knowledge in opposition to airways and ticket brokers for March, April and Might, in addition to for the primary quarter of 2023. DOT most lately launched grievance knowledge in August for February 2023.

DOT in March obtained almost 7,500 complaints from shoppers, up 13 % from February 2023, and 70 % from March 2022. Flight issues, which embody cancellations, delays and misconnections, comprised the No. 1 class with almost 2,500 complaints. Refunds adopted at 1,510, with baggage at 1,126. 

Two-thirds of the March 2023 complaints had been in opposition to U.S. carriers. These with the very best variety of complaints included Frontier (1,006), American Airways (787) and Spirit Airways (665).

For the primary quarter via March 31, the company obtained almost 25,000 complaints, which was up 88.4 % from a yr prior. 

Starting in April, complaints began to degree off sequentially, however nonetheless had been up considerably yr over yr. April complaints had been up 32 % in contrast with a yr previous to greater than 6,700, however on a month-over-month foundation, they had been down greater than 10 %. The whole dipped once more on a month-to-month foundation in Might to just about 6,500, however had been up almost 49 % yr over yr. 

The identical classes topped the record of complaints in every of April and Might, and in the identical order: flight issues, refunds and baggage.

U.S. carriers in April obtained 4,710 complaints, about 70 % of the entire. Carriers in April with the very best variety of complaints included Frontier (908), American (775) and United Airways (667). Might’s U.S. service complaints had been 4,425, about 68 % of the entire, with Frontier receiving probably the most once more (854), adopted by American (775) and United (705). 

DOT is investing in updating its shopper grievance software system and on Sept. 29 was awarded an $8 million grant towards that effort. The company anticipates that its new system might be operational in January 2024. Within the meantime, “given the continued excessive quantity of air journey service complaints regarding airways and ticket brokers,” DOT will revise the way it processes the buyer complaints obtained between June 1 via Dec. 31. As a substitute of reporting complaints, it would report shopper submissions, which embody complaints, inquiries and opinions. 

RELATED: DOT: February Air Complaints Down from January