Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Passengers share complaints with US Transportation Department about declining air travel experience

Increasing Complaints about Air Travel Frustrate Travelers

Air Travel Woes: Consumer Complaints Soar in 2023

The woes of air travel continued to mount in 2023 as the number of consumer complaints filed with the US government reached nearly 97,000, marking a significant increase from the previous year. The Transportation Department revealed that it took until July to sort through the influx of complaints and compile the figures, highlighting the magnitude of the issue.

This surge in complaints is the highest since 2020, when airlines faced backlash for their handling of refunds during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite a decrease in canceled flights last year, delays remained high, with approximately 21% of all flights experiencing disruptions.

The majority of complaints were directed towards US airlines, with a notable portion targeting foreign carriers. Issues regarding the treatment of passengers with disabilities saw a significant increase, along with complaints of discrimination based on race or national origin.

The Transportation Department attributed the rise in complaints to increased consumer awareness of their rights and the ability to file grievances. In a notable case, the department assisted Southwest Airlines passengers in securing over $600 million in refunds and reimbursements following a wave of flight cancellations in December 2022, for which the airline paid a hefty $35 million fine.

As the department works on modernizing its complaint-taking system to better regulate the airline industry, the delay in releasing complaint numbers raises concerns about transparency and oversight. Despite the challenges, the surge in complaints underscores the need for improved customer service and accountability within the air travel sector.

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