Passengers moving through Charlotte Douglas International Airport. (photo by Patrick Clarke)
Airline delays? Up.
Airline cancellations? Up.
Passenger complaints to the Department of Transportation? Way up.
According to an article in the Washington Post, the amount of complaints filed in the month of June this year were up 270 percent compared to the same time period in 2019, the last full pre-pandemic year.
The reason is not hard to understand – the number of airline delays and cancellations has been extraordinary as carriers have tried to weather the perfect storm of a resurgence in travel coupled with understaffed airlines at virtually every level of aviation, from pilots to baggage handlers.
In fact, airlines have canceled a staggering number of flights through the first six months of 2022 – 53,000 in total affecting millions of passengers.
According to the Post, airline travelers filed more than 5,800 complaints in the month of June alone this year. That figure is even 40 percent more than last year when carriers were just beginning to struggle with staffing issues and the DOT was still fielding complaints about the federal mask mandate.
In total, the DOT has received more than 28,000 complaints through the first six months of 2022, more than the entire year in 2019.
Nearly a third of the complaints – 29 percent – were made for reasons that included delays, cancellations, or schedule changes. The Post noted that a statement by the DOT said the government agency “routinely contacts airlines with widespread cancellations or delays to make clear their obligation to promptly refund passengers who choose not to accept the alternative offered for a canceled or significantly changed flight.”