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Complaints against US airlines fall

Complaints against US airlines fall
13 Feb 2014

The number of passengers lodging complaints about US-based airlines has fallen in the past 12 months.

According to the US Department of Transportation's (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Division, the number of grievances lodged fell by 15.4% in 2013.

In total, the DOT received 9,684 complaints about US airlines in 2013, down from the 11,447 complaints filed in 2012.  

These were most commonly related to flight problems, such as cancellations, delays and misconnections, with almost 4,000 complaints in this category. Baggage, boarding and customer service were next three biggest categories, mirroring the results from 2012. However, complaints about fares dropped from sixth overall in 2012 to eighth overall in 2013, after more than halving from 1,010 to 503. 

As for individual airlines, the most complained about carriers in 2013 were United Airlines (1,935), American Airlines (1,730) and Spirit Airlines (1,019), while Island Airlines (11), Sun Country Airlines (11) and Horizon Airlines (18) garnered the lowest number of criticisms. 

However, this is perhaps to be expected given that United and American are two of the largest airlines in the world and deal with millions of passengers per year, so it's more telling to compare them to the other major carriers, US Airways (806), Delta (713) and Virgin America (81) and look at the number of complaints per person. 

This metric actually places Delta as the third best airline overall behind Southwest and Alaska, with just 0.59 complaints per 100,000 passengers, but United finds itself near the bottom in 15th, with 2.14 complaints per 100,000. However, this actually marks a significant improvement for United, which in 2012 registered a figure of 4.24 in racking up 3,920 complaints. 

As a result of this, and other airlines' improvement, the overall number of grievances per 100,000 passengers from 1.45 to 1.13 between 2012 and 2013, showing that US airlines have upped their game when it comes to customer service and punctuality. ADNFCR-408-ID-801693401-ADNFCR

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