U.S. Consumer Airline Complaints Up 300 Percent from 2019

The US Department of Transportation in April received more than 5,000 complaints from consumers about airline service, up 14.8 percent from March and up 321.5 percent from the roughly 1,200 complaints received in April 2019, the agency reported last week.

Of the 5,079 April complaints, nearly 63 percent concerned US carriers, about 28 percent concerned foreign air carriers and the remaining 10 percent were about travel companies. A third of the complaints concerned refunds, while flight problems involving cancellations, delays or “other deviations from airlines’ schedules” were a close second at 31 percent.

Reporting carriers canceled 2.3 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in April, up from 1.5 percent in March, but lower than the 2.4 percent reported in April 2019, according to DOT. Delta Air Lines (1.1 percent), Hawaiian Airlines (1.4 percent) and American Airlines (1.6 percent) had the lowest percentage of cancellations in April while Spirit Airlines (10.3 percent), JetBlue (9 percent) and Alaska Airlines (3.8 percent) had the highest.

The report comes as carriers trim schedules to improve operations after challenging holiday weekends. Cancellations affected nearly 3,000 flights Memorial Day weekend and nearly 3,400 on Juneteenth weekend, according to FlightAware.

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