- Airline complaints
Airline complaints are any type of formal
complaintfiled by an airlinecustomer either to the airline responsible for the grievance or the government office responsible for overseeing the airlines national industry. Airline complaints generally arise out of problems experienced during air travelthat were left unresolved.
Airline Complaints in the US
According to the [http://www.aqr.aero/aqrreports/AQR2007full.pdf Airline Quality Rating] report, airline hassles in the United States of America (
US) have increased since 2005. [ [http://www.cnbc.com/id/17911197 Airline Hassles On Rise - News - MSNBC.com ] ] The rate of complaints, on the other hand, have remained roughly the same, with 0.88 complaints per 100,000, half of which were due to problems with flights or baggage. This may be due to passengers being more forgiving since 9/11. [ [http://blogs.usatoday.com/sky/2007/06/flight_attendan.html USATODAY.com - Today In the Sky: Archives ] ] However, there is also criticism about whether the number of official complaints truly reflects the experience passengers are encountering, considering the difficulty passengers have in finding out how to issue a formal complaint. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/travel/columnist/woodyard/2004-02-27-woodyard_x.htm USATODAY.com - Speak up: How to file your airline complaints ] ] Furthermore, complaints about airline complaints have increased in the US, showing that those who are able to complain, are dissatisfied with the results. [ [http://www.airportbusiness.com/article/article.jsp?id=4625&siteSection=3 AirportBusiness.com » Article » Airline Passenger Complaints Up Sharply ] ]
Airline Complaints in Europe
Europe, air passengers have more rights than in the US and must be compensated by law for overbookings, cancellations or flight delays. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4271197.stm BBC NEWS | Business | Air passengers win new EU rights ] ] . After this law was introduced in the EU in early 2005, complaints soared, as expected, since more compensation could be expected by passengers who officially complained. [ [http://money.guardian.co.uk/travel/story/0,,1826012,00.html Airline complaints soar | Money | guardian.co.uk ] ] In fact, complaints related to cancellations increased 600% and complaints related to delays increased 500% [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/transport/article1188869.ece Complaints to airlines rocket after new EU rules - Home News, UK - Independent.co.uk ] ] , not surprisingly since those are categories where increased compensation took effect since the new law.
Airlines receiving most Complaints
In the US, Southwest airlines had the lowest rate of complaints in 2006, with 0.11 complaints per 100,000 passengers, while US Airways and United Airlines had the worst rate of complaints, both with 1.36 complaints per 100,000 passengers. [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/transport/article1188869.ece Complaints to airlines rocket after new EU rules - Home News, UK - Independent.co.uk ] ] US Airways is also the US airline with the worst on-time performance, which might explain its rate of complaints. [ [http://www.usatoday.com/travel/columnist/brancatelli/2007-05-11-airline-on-time-performance_N.htm Travel: Flight Tracker, City Guides, Deals, News, Photos & more - USATODAY.com ] ]
Government Agencies overseeing Complaints
In the US, the Department of Transportation is responsible for the airline industry and has a specific division called the [http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/ Aviation Consumer Protection Service] that handles airline complaints. They also publish figures on the performance of major US airlines, which are freely accessible on their website [http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/index.htm] .
In the UK, the [http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=306 Air Transport Users Council] (an auxiliary group within the Civil Aviation Authority) is responsible for handling airline complaints.
In the European Union, several member countries do not have specific offices to handle airline complaints. [ [http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/04/travel_europe_revolt.html Airline Passenger Revolt Spreads to Europe ] ] However, the [http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/index_en.htm Air Transport Portal of the European Commission] handles airline complaints from member countries.
* [http://www.AirlineComplaints.org Airline Complaints]
* [http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov US Department of Transportation Aviation Consumer Protection Service]
* [http://www.cta-otc.gc.ca/cta-otc2000/menu_e.html Canadian Transportation Agency]
* [http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air_portal/passenger_rights/information_en.htm Passenger Rights in the European Union]
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