Airline complaints about flight delays, mishandled baggage and ticket over-sales single out Delta and United. Find out who else deserves a spot in the top-10 passenger airline hall of shame. Who deserves a second look – even though they are on the list?
Airline Complaints Tally
The Department of Transportation has released its June report for complaints about airlines and – just in time for the summer travel season – consumers should make an educated decision about whom they entrust with their hard-earned vacation dollars. As outlined by the American Express Publishing Corporation’s Travel and Leisure community, the most-complained about airlines are Delta, United Airlines, US Airways, Northwest, American, Comair, Continental, Air Tran, Frontier and jetBlue Airways.
A Closer Look at the Complaints about Airlines
Although tempting to let the overall rating dissuade the traveler from booking flights, it is noteworthy that not all of the mentioned airlines perform identical to one another in all areas that might bring on consumer complaints.
For example, the number one airline to have an overall percentage of reporting flight operations arriving on time – as outlined by the Department of Transportation – is Hawaiian, closely followed by Alaska, United and Southwest. Even though United is second in the hall of shame listing, it comes in third with respect to on-time arrivals.
Skywest had the highest number of flight cancellations with 1.5 percent; Frontier and Hawaiian had the lowest. Keep in mind that Frontier is a contender in the hall of shame for airline complaints!
Per 1,000 passengers, 6.27 complained about lost baggage to Atlantic Southeast, while 5.95 launched complaints to American Eagle. Neither of these carriers is on the list. Air Tran Airways only had 1.31 complaints per 1,000 passengers, but is nevertheless part of the ill-fated list.
Denied Boarding (involuntarily)
Airline complaints about missed boarding opportunities are sometimes held at bay with offers of lucrative tickets for a later flight. In some cases travelers are still denied boarding, albeit involuntarily. Per 10,000 passengers, American Eagle tops the list with a whopping 4.59, which is actually up from last year’s quarterly figures of 3.14. jetBlue only features 0.01
Are Airline Complaints ‘Top 10’ Listings Justified?
While it is tempting to condense the data into a top 10 list, it is imperative to remember that airline complaints vary by discipline. The laid back traveler who wouldn’t mind getting bumped may very well find that flying an airline with lower boarding ratings – that nevertheless has a stellar baggage handling report card – is a good experience.
Conversely, the traveler with only carry-on luggage does not have to worry about baggage handling and may opt for the airline with the lowest bump rates instead, even if the baggage handling is not quite up to par. It is evident that complaints about airlines do not fit into a simple top 10 list.