According to the US Department of Transportation, the number of consumer air travel complaints climbed about 35% month over month in June to more than 5,860, nearly 270 % more than pre-pandemic levels. The month-over-month increase should not be surprising given that domestic airlines had widely reported service interruptions beginning around Memorial Day Weekend and lasting into June. As a result, numerous airlines altered their summer itineraries to enhance operations.
According to the DOT, almost 583,600 flights were flown in June, accounting for approximately 86 % of the total number of flights operated in June 2019. This statistic increased by 3.4 % year over year but decreased by 1.3 % month over month. In June, the reported airlines canceled around 3.1 % of their planned domestic flights, compared to 1.6 % in June 2021 and 2 % in May 2022.
Flight issues—cancellations, delays, or other abnormalities from airlines’ schedules—received the most complaints, accounting for over 29 % of all. The three carriers with the lowest %ages of canceled flights were Hawaiian Airlines (0.1 %), Alaska Airlines (0.7 %), and Frontier Airlines (1.1 %), according to DOT. The carriers with the highest rates of canceled flights included American Airlines (4.4 %), Delta Air Lines (3.9 %), and United Airlines (3.5 %).
In addition, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week sent a letter to U.S. airlines “challenging [them] to improve their customer service plans” and announced that the agency will create an interactive dashboard before Labor Day “to make it easier for the traveling public to determine the services such as hotels and meals that would be provided to them when the cause of a cancellation or a lengthy delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control.”