Consumer Watchdog

Surge in airline complaints highlight need for action

Congress should allow Attorney General to enforce our laws.

Phil Mosley |

Despite fewer people traveling in 2022 than 2019, consumer complaints surged according to our new report, The Plane Truth. And the data doesn’t even include complaints from December when poor airline performance spoiled many families’ holidays.

The top two complaints were travelers not getting refunds for canceled flights and overall cancellations and delays.

Photo by PIRG | TPIN

2022 was also a bad year for on-time performance, which dropped to 76.72%, flight cancellations, which were at their highest levels since 2001 (not counting 2020) and complaints against travel agents.

“Bad weather can be a factor in cancellations but we wouldn’t see this avalanche of complaints if airlines took better care of travelers,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG Foundation Executive Director.

To help consumers, CoPIRG is calling on Congress to eliminate federal preemption involving the airlines and allow Colorado’s Attorney General, Phil Weiser, to enforce federal laws.

“My office has received thousands of complaints from outraged airline passengers about airline customer service—from systematic failures to providing required credits to those who lost travel opportunities during the pandemic,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said. “Federal law places the responsibility for addressing violations of airline consumer protection squarely with the federal government and state attorneys general have very limited authority to hold airline companies accountable for unacceptable behavior towards consumers. It is time for Congress to authorize state attorneys general to enforce consumer protections for airline travelers.”

Photo by PIRG | TPIN


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