Consumer Complaints about Airlines up More Than 20 Percent over Last Year

Consumer Complaints about Airlines up More Than 20 Percent over Last Year
Image: Pixabay
August 12, 2015

Consumer complaints about airlines filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Division during the first six months of this year were up 20.3 percent compared to the same time period last year, according to the DOT's latest monthly Air Travel Consumer Report.

The report shows that, from January 2015 through June 2015, the DOT received a total of 9,542 consumer complaints involving airlines, up from the 7,935 received during the first six months of 2014. In June 2015 alone, the DOT received 2,052 airline complaints, which is up 47.3 percent from June 2014.

Two tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights were also reported in June 2015, both of which are under investigation, according to the DOT's report. There were no international flights in June with tarmac delays exceeding four hours (the maximum allowed).

The Air Travel Consumer Report also includes data on on-time performance, cancellations, chronically delayed flights, and the causes of flight delays filed with the DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by the reporting air carriers. Additionally, the report contains statistics on mishandled baggage, passengers denied confirmed space (oversales/bumping), as well as aviation service complaints filed with DOT's Aviation Consumer Protection Division by consumers regarding a range of issues such as flight problems, baggage, reservation and ticketing, refunds, consumer service, disability, and discrimination.

View the full Air Travel Consumer Report here.

In terms of on-time performance, the nation's largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 74.8 percent in June, up from the 71.8 percent on-time rate in June 2014, but down from the 80.5 percent mark in May 2015.

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. 1) Hawaiian Airlines – 90.5 percent
  2. 2) Alaska Airlines – 87.4 percent
  3. 3) Delta Air Lines – 82.2 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

  1. 1) Spirit Airlines – 49.9 percent
  2. 2) United Airlines – 66.3 percent
  3. 3) Frontier Airlines – 67.6 percent

Domestic Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays Exceeding Three Hours

  1. 1) JetBlue Airways flight 2417 from Orlando to Austin, 6/17/15 – delayed on tarmac 228 minutes in San Antonio
  2. 2) Southwest Airlines flight 2230 from Salt Lake City to Baltimore/Washington, 6/23/15 – delayed on tarmac 181 minutes in Norfolk, Va.

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. 1) Envoy Air – 5.2 percent
  2. 2) Spirit Airlines – 4.9 percent
  3. 3) ExpressJet Airlines – 3.5 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

  1. 1) Hawaiian Airlines – 0.1 percent
  2. 2) Delta Air Lines – 0.3 percent
  3. 3) Alaska Airlines – 0.4 percent
Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

You've finally filled out all the paperwork for a new or used car and drive it off the lot in triumph. Then, only a few hours (or days or weeks) later, the dealer calls you and tells you that you have to return the car because your financing didn't go through. What's going on? Is this legal? No.

Do you have an upcoming vacation or business trip or family vaction? Whether you're traveling across the state or around the world, don't forget to take the necessary precautions to protect your most important asset — your identity! It's easy to take a few simple precautions.

Pets are more than animals. They're family. Travel with pets can present a distinct set of challenges, and frequent travelers must address a number of pet safety considerations while preparing to take an animal along on a trip. But it's easier than you might think to keep your pets healthy and happy.

Packing for an upcoming trip? Do your plans involve air travel? Many common items that consumers use on a daily basis are considered hazardous materials when they are brought onto a commercial airplane. For this reason, these items come with specific packing requirements to which air travelers must adhere.