Customer service at US airlines has sunk to a new low as complaints to the Department of Transportation are now so high that senior officials can no longer keep up.
Consumer complaints about airlines nearly doubled in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2022 — and continued to rise in April and May, according to the latest data from the Department of Transportation.
The ministry said it received 24,965 complaints about airline service in the first three months of this year, an increase of 88 percent compared to the first quarter of 2022. Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines had according to the number of passengers the highest percentage of complaints. to the data.
Frustrated consumers filed a further 6,712 complaints in April, up 32 percent from a year earlier, and 6,465 in May – up 49 percent.
The ministry admitted that data on consumer complaints itself has been delayed due to the large number of reports being processed by government agencies.
Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines had the highest percentage of complaints per number of passengers, according to the latest data from the Department of Transportation
In addition to flight delays and cancellations, the data also takes into account issues including refund processing, baggage, customer service and oversales.
Complaints related to disabilities, such as slowing down or damaging wheelchairs, have also increased compared to last year.
There were 636 such complaints in the first quarter, almost double the 380 filed in the same period of 2022.
In the first three months of this year, ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, received the most complaints per 100,000 ‘planes’.
‘Enplanements’ is a term commonly used in the aviation industry and means the act of a passenger boarding an aircraft, including both departure and transfer.
According to the ministry, the airline received 2,646 complaints per 6,808,601 boarding passengers.
This means it has received 38.86 complaints per 100,000 passengers.
In the first three months of this year, ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, received the most complaints per 100,000 passengers
Spirit Airlines received the second-highest number of complaints per boarding passenger between January and March: 16.73.
Third on the list was Southwest Airlines, which received 3,866 complaints in three months with 37,673,176 passengers on board – 10.26 complaints per 100,000 customers.
The nation’s largest airlines, including United and American, were also among the 10 airlines with the highest number of complaints.
United Airlines received 2,064 complaints from 29,742,085 passengers – which equates to 6.94 complaints per 100,000 customers.
American Airlines had 6.39 complaints per 100,000 passengers and received 2,432 complaints from its 38,082,770 people.
Texas-based carrier Southwest Airlines announced last month that federal regulators had notified the airline that it could be fined for failing to provide enough assistance to travelers stranded last December when a service outage caused nearly 17,000 canceled flights .
Thousands of desperate passengers were abandoned over the holidays and forced to sleep in terminals amid the chaos – which executives blamed on the company’s outdated technology.
Large piles of lost luggage were left at baggage carousels after Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights last December
The ministry said on Wednesday it was investigating “several domestic airlines” for possibly offering flight schedules they are unlikely to be able to operate – but declined to reveal which ones.
Experts warn that a labor shortage in the air transport sector has left travelers plagued by widespread cancellations, delays, long security lines and mishandled luggage.
Kathleen Bangs, from flight tracking platform FlightAware, told DailyMail.com earlier this year that despite skyrocketing demand, there were also fewer available flights, contributing to frustrating delays and baggage issues.