POST Online Media Lite Edition


Complaints about airline service down 24 percent

Staff Writer |
In May, the U.S. Department of Transportation received 1,134 complaints about airline service from consumers, down 24 percent from the total of 1,492 filed in May 2015.

Article continues below

But this is slightly up 1.07 percent from the 1,122 received in April 2016, according to the Air Travel Consumer Report.

The reporting carriers canceled 0.5 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in May 2016, an improvement over both the 1.1 percent cancellation rate posted in May 2015 and the 0.9 percent rate in April 2016.

The May cancellation rate of 0.5 percent was the third lowest on record, with only September and October 2015 having a lower percentage of canceled flights.

The reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 83.4 percent in May 2016, up from the 80.5 percent on-time rate in May 2015, but down from the 84.5 percent mark in April 2016.

In May, airlines reported nine tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and four tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights. All reported extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

At the end of May, there were no flights that were chronically delayed – more than 30 minutes late more than 50 percent of the time – for two consecutive months or more. A list of flights that were chronically delayed for a single month is available from BTS.

In May, the carriers filing on-time performance data reported that 16.56 percent of their flights were delayed. In addition, 0.52 percent of flights were canceled and 0.28 percent were diverted.

Weather is a factor in both the extreme-weather category and the aviation-system category. This includes delays due to the re-routing of flights by DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration in consultation with the carriers involved. In May, 34.6 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down from 35.21 percent in May 2015, but up from 29.94 percent in April 2016.

The U.S. carriers reporting mishandled baggage data posted a mishandled baggage rate of 2.40 reports per 1,000 passengers in May, an improvement over May 2015’s rate of 2.97, but up from April 2016’s rate of 2.31.

In May, carriers reported four incidents involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, down from both the 13 reports filed in May 2015 and the seven reports filed in April 2016. May’s incidents involved the death of one animal and injuries to three other animals.

DOT received a total of 66 disability-related complaints in May, down from the 73 complaints received in May 2015, but up from the 52 complaints received in April 2016.

In May, the Department received seven complaints alleging discrimination by airlines due to factors other than disability – such as race, religion, national origin, or sex – up from both the total of two recorded in May 2015 and the four recorded in April 2016.

What to read next

Complaints against airlines jump 70 percent after United's incident
Number of customer complaints in Dubai increased 23 percent
China retrieved record $145.42 million for dissatisfied consumers