Travelers were marginally happier about airline service in May this year, according to the Department of Transportation.
In its latest release of data, the DOT said there was a 15% decline in the number of complaints between April and May, but travelers still reported 200% more issues than they did before the pandemic.
According to the DOT, airline service was the biggest issue for passengers, who complained by the thousands about delayed and canceled flights. Mishandled bags, treatment of disabled passengers and discrimination were also issues in May.
“The Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) is monitoring airlines’ operations to ensure that airlines are not engaging in unrealistic scheduling of flights and are complying with aviation consumer protection requirements,” the DOT said in a statement. “This includes ensuring consumers receive prompt refunds if they are no longer interested in continuing their travel when their flights are cancelled or significantly changed.”
What was going on with airline reliability?
In May, the DOT received 4,344 complaints about airline service, down from May but still well above pre-pandemic levels. According to the department, 77.2% of flights arrived on time that month, and 2% of flights were canceled.
Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines were the most on-time carriers in May. Hawaiian also had the fewest cancelations, while Delta had the most.
Ultra-low-cost carriers Frontier, Allegiant and Spirit had the most delays in May.
What was the situation with lost bags?
Although mishandled bags have been getting a lot of attention this summer, the picture was not so bad in the spring. In May, the DOT reports airlines only mishandled 0.56% of the 42 million bags that traveled. Handling issues were more common for wheelchairs and scooters, with 1,100 complaints out of 72,332 checked mobility devices.
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What other issues were raised?
- The DOT received 158 disability-related complaints in May, a slight decrease from April
- The Department also received 52 complaints about discrimination, many of which were tied to an incident in which a group of Orthodox Jewish passengers who departed from New York alleged discrimination by German carrier Lufthansa on a flight from Frankfurt to Budapest.