These Airlines Had the Most (and Least) Complaints in 2022

Some airlines fared better than others.

The year 2022 was a tumultuous one for airlines in the United States, full of cancellations, baggage delays, and staffing shortages, all coupled with high demand and a bounce back for the travel industry as a whole. Yet some airlines fared better than others.

When it came to overall performance, Delta Air Lines took the cake, ranking first among major U.S. carriers with the lowest cancellation rate, according to The Wall Street Journal’s 15th annual airline scorecard. But the airline’s on-time arrival rate of 81.7 percent was still much lower than 2021 when it was 87.9 percent and lower than 2019 when it was 83.4 percent.

airplanes parked at their terminals at an airport

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That may be no surprise considering Delta’s Chief Executive Ed Bastian recently called 2022 “the most difficult operational year in our history.”

Despite that, Delta ranked high in nearly every other category, including having the lowest rate of involuntary bumping and canceled flights.

But not every airline weathered the storm so well. Allegiant Air had the lowest on-time arrival rate of just 62.7 percent, also lower than the airline’s rate in 2021. An Allegiant spokeswoman blamed a “confluence of factors,” including weather, COVID-19 infections, and staffing shortages.

JetBlue similarly had a bad year, experiencing issues in nearly every category, like delays, cancellations, mishandled baggage, and customer complaints. In fact, it had the most 2-hour-plus tarmac delays of any U.S. carrier and the second-most canceled flights.

JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty told the WSJ much of that is due to its hub in the congested metro New York and surrounding Northeastern area.

On the other hand, Southwest Airlines, whose Christmas week meltdown was felt for weeks, had fewer overall problems than other carriers in 2022. It actually had the smallest rate of customer complaints and long tarmac delays, but did suffer when it came to canceled flights and involuntary bumping.

Baggage issues also plagued much of the airline industry in 2022, and that was especially true for American Airlines, which saw the highest rate of mishandled bags. And Frontier Airlines had the most complaints of any U.S. airline.

But the WSJ noted the rankings may be skewed as baggage handling and complaint data for December were not available and not factored into the rankings.

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