earlier today US Department of Transportation released the Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) which states consumer complaintsmishandled wheelchairs and scooters, mishandled luggage and timely performance. The report shows that the number of consumer complaints rose in July compared to June and is more than 260% above pre-pandemic levels.
Lack of personnel
As travel continues to recover, airlines and airports continue to work hard. The airline is understaffed in every conceivable aspect, customer service agents, gate agents, staff and even pilots. Airport restaurants close early because they don’t have the manpower to stay open until the last flight of the night.
This struggle spilled over into daily work, which had a profound effect on commuters. Over the past few months, airlines have had to severely cut schedules and cancel flights at the last minute because there are not enough crew members to staff the flight. Ground operations have also been affected, with luggage taking longer to arrive at baggage claim because ramp agents have to juggle multiple roles.
In the United States, consumer complaints are high and customer satisfaction levels have declined. Photo: Lucas Souza | Simple flight
All of the above boosted consumer reports from June to July. From June to July, the number of consumer complaints increased by 16.5%, more than 260% above the pre-pandemic level. DOT’s June ATCR showed a 34.9% increase in complaints from May to June.
Disruptions in work
In July 2022, there were 607,657 flights in the US, representing 86.5% of the 702,876 flights in July 2019, before the pandemic. Compared to July 2021, the number of flights has increased slightly, by only 0.35%. July 2022 numbers are up 4.1% from June 2022.
Cancellations in July 2022 were down 1.3% compared to June 2022. In July, the ten marketing network carriers scheduled 618,790 domestic flights, of which 11,133 (1.8%) were canceled. In June, 19,473 flights were canceled, which is 3.1% of operations for the month. Airlines reported 615,703 scheduled domestic flights in July 2021 and 10,195 cancellations, representing 1.7% of the schedule for the month.
On-time arrival rates are almost at 2019 levels, but not quite there. In July 2022, the on-time arrival rate was 74.9%, compared to 73.5% in June 2022, while in July 2019, the on-time arrival rate was 76.9%. The three airlines with the most arrivals are Alaska Airlines Network, Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines Network. Allegiant Air, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines had the lowest on-time arrival rates.
As mentioned above, July 2022’s cancellation rate was higher than July 2021, but lower than July 2019 and June 2022. The three airlines with the fewest canceled flights in July were: Hawaiian Airlines (0.1 %) and Spirit Airlines (0.4%) and Alaska Airlines Network (0.4%). American Airlines Network led the airlines with the most cancellations (2.5%), followed by United Airlines (2.0%), followed by JetBlue Airways (1.8%).
American Airlines is notorious for delays and cancellations, and a report from the Department of Transportation confirmed that the airline had the most cancellations in the US in July. Photo: Lucas Souza | Simple flight
In July, the DOT received nearly 7,000 complaints from consumers about airline service. Of the 6,831 complaints received, more than half were against US airlines (50.6%), 43.3% were against foreign airlines, and the remaining 6.1% were against travel agencies.
The highest category of complaints was baggage, which accounted for 27% of the total number of complaints for the month. Most of the baggage complaints were addressed to foreign airlines. The next highest category includes delays, cancellations or any other changes in airline schedules. This category accounted for 26.5% of complaints.
“The department monitors the actions of airlines and reviews complaints it receives against airlines to ensure that consumers’ rights are not violated.”
Another 20.7% of complaints related to refunds.
“The department has taken and will continue to take enforcement action against non-compliant airlines and ticket agents. The OACP is actively pursuing enforcement action against ten airlines for extraordinary delays in refunds for flights that the airlines have canceled or significantly altered.”
In July, the rate of mishandled bags decreased compared to June 2022, but was still higher than in July 2019. Reporting carriers moved 43 million bags in July and only 0.64% compared to 0.71% in June and higher than July 2019. 0.63%. Wheelchairs and scooters were misused more often than bags: 1.63%. Carriers mishandled 1.68% of wheelchairs and scooters in June, down from 1.71% in July 2019.
The Department for Transport has also received complaints related to bumping/reselling, animals, treatment of disabled passengers and discrimination.
How long do you think it will take for US carriers to fix their performance deficiencies and for the DOT to see lower levels of complaints than before the pandemic? Let us know in the comments below.
https://simpleflying.com/united-states-consumer-complaints-260-percent-above-pre-pandemic/ Consumer complaints in the United States are 260% above pre-pandemic levels