Courtesy of AirTran
Lost luggage and rude
attendants may make you want to scream. Here are the U.S. airlines that people
complained about the most.
When Andrew Schrage discovered
that his seatback TV wasn’t working on his JetBlue flight from Chicago to
Boston, he didn’t wait until he landed to complain to the airline. Schrage, an
editor at the website MoneyCrashers.com, tweeted @JetBlue before the plane took
off, and the airline responded—with a $50 voucher.
Twitter may be changing how
we complain to the airlines, but there’s still a lot to complain about. According
to the latest Department of Transportation (DOT) report, the agency received nearly 3,600
complaints about airlines from January to June, 2011.
That’s a lot of complaints, even if it is an improvement from the nearly 4,000 received over the same period last year. Not surprisingly, complaints about flight delays and cancellations, rude
or incompetent service, and baggage handling led the list.
But what these stats don’t
tell you is that legions of consumers are now voicing their complaints directly
with the airlines via Twitter. And the airlines—or at least some of them—are
listening, responding, and in some cases being proactive and fixing the issues.
Stephanie Dressler, a senior
associate at Manhattan-based Montieth & Company, missed her Delta flight to
Miami in August 2011 because of an exceptionally slow-moving check-in line at New
York’s JFK. So she tweeted pictures of the line to her followers. By the time
she arrived in Miami, Delta had apologized to her via Twitter, and on her way
home she was upgraded to Delta priority—and coveted exit-row seats.
Clearly, it’s faster to
broadcast a complaint in 140 characters or less than to call customer service
or log a complaint with the DOT. But not all airlines are listening—some, like
Skywest, have Twitter pages that are mere bookmarks. Others, like American
Airlines, have eight rotating community managers on Twitter and receive 30,000
tweets per month, according to the airline’s social media communications director,
Of course, anyone can tweet
anything; lodging an official complaint with the DOT means you have a serious
gripe. Here are the U.S. airlines the DOT says have had the most—and