Department of Transportation Sees 35% Jump in Airline Complaints in One Month


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Complaints about airlines in the United States increased nearly 35% in June as cancellations, delays, and other issues continue to plague the airline industry.

In total, the Department of Transportation received 5,862 complaints about airline service in June, a 34.9% increase from the 4,344 complaints it received in May 2022. The June complaints also represented a 269.6% increase from complaints received in June 2019, according to the department’s Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on airline operational data.

Of all the complaints in June, the majority — 57.7% — were against U.S. carriers, while 34.5% were against foreign carriers, and 7.8% were against travel companies.

Most complaints concerned cancellations, delays, or refunds.

Earlier this month, the DOT proposed a rule change that would require airlines to issue a refund if a domestic flight is delayed by more than three hours, and will launch an interactive website that details airline policies on cancellations and delays.

In June, airlines had an overall on-time arrival rate of 73.5%, which was down compared to the 77.2% rate in May 2022, but an improvement from June 2019 when the rate was 73.3%. Alaska Airlines had the highest on-time arrival rate at 78.7%, followed by Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines. On the other hand, Allegiant Air had the lowest on-time arrival rate in June at only 59%, followed by JetBlue at 61.3% and Frontier Airlines at 69.5%.

Hawaiian Airlines saw the fewest cancellations in June, cutting only 0.1% of its flights, while American Airlines saw the most, canceling 4.4%  of its flights.

The complaints come as airlines across the U.S. and the world have experienced widespread problems, generally blamed on a combination of staffing shortages and air traffic control issues. In total, more than 100,000 flights have been canceled in the U.S. so far this year and nearly a million flights delayed. Several airlines cut back on summer schedules in an effort to minimize disruptions and some have extended those into the fall, including American Airlines and United Airlines.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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