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Air Journey Complaints Quadruple From Pre-Pandemic Ranges

Shoppers stay lower than happy with their air journey experiences.

New information exhibits that whereas the quantity of people that flew U.S. airways in 2022 stays under pre-pandemic 2019 ranges, complaints about air journey have almost quadrupled in comparison with three years in the past. What’s extra, the brand new information evaluation, from U.S. PIRG Schooling Fund, doesn’t even account for the tidal wave of shopper complaints in December 2022, which resulted from the Southwest Airways scheduling meltdown.


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The largest gripe amongst vacationers for 2022? The shortage of refunds from airways, which topped the listing for the primary 11 months of 2022. On the brilliant aspect, the variety of refund complaints total is down compared to 2021, the report notes. However they’re nonetheless 10 instances increased than in 2019. And once more, as a reminder, this information is all earlier than the onslaught of December 2022 shopper grievance filings.

Extra highlights from the evaluation embody:

—Airways canceled 190,038 flights in 2022 in the USA, which equates to 2.7 p.c of all scheduled flights

—1.44 million extra flights, or 20.6 p.c, had been delayed

—Final 12 months noticed the best variety of cancellations since 2001, when air journey was disrupted by the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults and the skies had been empty for days

—The variety of shopper complaints centered solely on cancellations and delays tripled in 2022 in comparison with 2019

—Airways mishandled almost three million baggage, wheelchairs and scooters final 12 months

—Misplaced, broken, delayed, or pilfered baggage represented issues with the next proportion of checked baggage than in 2021 or 2019.

Passenger at airport in Beijing, China.
Passenger at airport in Beijing, China. (photograph through 06photograph / iStock / Getty Pictures Plus)

All of those takeaways are based mostly on an evaluation of information from the Division of Transportation that was launched a number of weeks in the past. For the primary time in 25 years, the DOT’s year-end report didn’t embody particular grievance information, in response to the U.S. PIRG Schooling Fund. It’s because after the Christmas weekend airline meltdown, there have been “just too many complaints for the DOT to tally,” the federal government company stated in its personal report.

General, the report notes that in a 12 months when the journey business— and the world—was attempting to return to some model of pre-pandemic normalcy, the airline business merely was not prepared or as much as the duty.“Practically each main vacation and journey interval final 12 months was marred by cancellations,” says the report.

“In a nutshell, nearly every part damaging received worse in 2022: complaints, cancellations, delays, involuntary bumping and baggage dealing with—all whereas the variety of air vacationers for the total 12 months of 2022 was under 2019 ranges,” says the U.S. PIRG Schooling Fund evaluation.

This information comes because the business is making ready to enter what is essentially anticipated to be the busiest journey season in 4 years, with 78 million passengers projected in April.

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