Flights

August airline passenger complaints up 320% compared with pre-pandemic figures due to flight

The federal government saw a spike in complaints from angry airline passengers in August, the last full month of a summer marked by flight cancellations and delays.

In just-released data, the Department of Transportation says it received more than 7,000 complaints from flyers, a 6% increase compared with July and a 320% increase compared with pre-pandemic levels, CNN reported.

“Flight problems was the highest category of the complaints received in August 2022,” the DOT says. “Of the 7,243 complaints received, 2,321 (32.0%) concerned cancellations, delays or other deviations from airlines’ schedules.”

The data also shows that in August, United Airlines took the top spot for canceled flights at 3.6% of flights marketed as operating on its network. American Airlines was close behind at 3.5% of all flights canceled followed by Southwest Airlines in the No. 3 spot at 2.7%.

Delta Air Lines, followed by Alaska Airlines and ultra-low cost carrier Spirit Airlines, received top marks as operating the most flights arriving on-time.

According to data from flight tracking site FlightAware, more than 15,000 flights were canceled in August on US-based carriers, or 2.1% of flights. More than 155,000 flights operated by US-based airlines were delayed, or nearly 22% of August flights.

Airlines and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have sparred over whose staffing issues were most to blame for the summer travel mess.

Before the busy Labor Day weekend, the DOT launched a dashboard specifying what benefits the 10 largest US airlines have committed to provide travelers when flights are interrupted.

The department has pushed to expand those commitments, sparking some pushback from US carriers.

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