Consumer complaints over airlines rise in U.S.


Diverse U.S. flights are arriving on time and airlines are losing fewer bags, yet profuse consumers are complaining about air travel.

Traveller complaints jumped 34 per cent final year, to the highest level since 2000. The top frustration is problem journeys including cancellations and delays, which is unchanged in 16 years.

«Entire lot is getting better, but they are still unhappy about the same fetishes,» says Dean Headley, a marketing professor at Wichita Regal and co-author of an annual report on airline quality. He thinks ssengers have hard feelings about the growth in extra fees for things like checked baggage and changing or counterbalancing a reservation, and that makes them quicker to complain when something erupts wrong with their trip.

The annual report by Headley and Brent Bowen, dean of the aviation educate at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was released Monday. The researchers use publicly ready information from the U.S. De rtment of Transportation to rate the airlines for on-time discharge, baggage handling, bumping ssengers because of oversold flights, and beefs filed with the government.

Headley and Bowen named Virgin America the champion followed by JetBlue Airways and Delta Air Lines. The honour for Virgin be a question ofed the same day that the boutique carrier announced it was being sold to Alaska Airlines.

The blast ranked Spirit Airlines last, just ahead of Envoy, Limits and American Airlines.

Among the other findings in this year’s announcement:

  • On time: The percentage of flights that arrived on time rose to 79.9 per cent after year from 76.2 per cent in 2014.
  • Lost bags: The rate of traps being lost, stolen or delayed bags dropped 10 per cent in 2015.
  • Getting stumble over murdered: Fewer ssengers were bumped off oversold flights; the rate forsook by 17 per cent last year. That doesn’t count people who gratuitously gave up their seats for money or a travel voucher.
  • More squawks: Airline customers filed more than 15,000 complaints with the Transportation Subdivision last year, up from about 11,000 in 2014. Spirit Airlines and Bounds Airlines, budget carriers that charge lots of fees and had bad on-time records, had the worst complaint rates.

It was the fifth increase in beefs in six years. Still, more than 670 million people be fit to be tied on U.S. carriers last year, so only a tiny slice bothered to lament to the government. Many more gripe directly to the airline. Frontier CEO Barry Biffle has said that his airline communicates about 30 complaints for every one filed with the Transportation Activity be contingent and it used to be a 90-to-1 ratio.

Complaints to the government topped 20,000 in 2000 but quit sharply after the terror attacks of September 2001, which be produced ended in fewer people flying. Complaints didn’t start rising again until 2004.

There are dangerous students of the airline industry who dismiss reports like the one from Wichita Specify and Embry-Riddle.

Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier blog, foretells the overall rankings don’t tell travellers whether an airline is good or bad at what enigmas to them.

«It lumps everything together in a way that doesn’t make purport for most travellers,» Snyder says. «You should scrutinization what matters to you. If you’re flying a specific route, you can look at on-time conduct on that route.»

Each month the Transportation De rtment lists routs that are chronically delayed and provides on-time figures for each airline at typical of airports. But there are shortcomings to the government figures. For one thing, problems on regional concerns such as American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express grant up under the contractors that operate the flights — unfamiliar names such as Delegate, SkyWest and ExpressJet — instead of American, Delta and United, which market tickets on those flights to consumers.

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