Air travel can be difficult, especially during a pandemic. With that being said, a recent study says customer complaints have surged amid the coronavirus health crisis – and some carriers are reportedly getting a whole lot of grief.
In a late-July report, Upgraded Points used data from the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate air travel customer complaints, analyzing topics such as refunds, ticketing, fares, customer service, baggage, oversales and disability.
The travel blog studied the number of gripes received by the top 10 domestic and foreign airlines, calculating month-over-month changes among consumer complaints for March and April 2020, as well as year-over-year data from April 2019.
According to the findings, U.S. airlines received 8,146 complaints in April 2020, a serious spike from 2,903 complaints in March. Per the data, refunds were the most common criticism, with 17,387 complaints received about the issue by U.S. and foreign airlines in April. Other common subjects of concern were reservations, ticketing and boarding, as well as fares.
|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC.||22.00||+0.51||+2.37%|
|UAL||UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS||54.67||+1.62||+3.06%|
|VLRS||CONTROLADORA VUELA COMP DE AVIACION||17.57||+0.34||+1.97%|
Among domestic airlines, United Airlines (2,822), American Airlines (1,268) and Frontier Airlines (913) received the most complaints in April 2020. Specifically, Frontier received the most complaints per enplanements in April of 2020, with 2,192 complaints per 100,000 enplanements
At the same time last year, United received 811 complaints, while American heard 337 and Frontier had 146, respectively, the study said.
Among foreign airlines, Volaris Airlines (1,964,) Air Canada (1,042) and TAP Air Portugal (631) had the most complaints against them in April 2020, according to the report.
"As travel industry watchers, we were well aware that the recent pandemic has thrown the airline industry into an uproar, so some increase in customer complaints was certainly expected,” Upgraded Points founder Alex Miller said in a statement.
“What was not expected was the sheer volume of complaints - the year-to-year rise was simply off the charts."