November Airline Consumer Complaints Down From Previous Year, October

WASHINGTON – Airline consumer complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division during November were down 23.6 percent from November 2012 and down 11.9 percent from October 2013, according to the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report released today. 

The Department received 755 complaints in November 2013, down from both the 988 complaints filed in November 2012 and the 857 received in October 2013. 

Airlines also reported 11 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights and four tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights in November.  All of the reported tarmac delays involved flights that arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 1 that were delayed due to a shooting at the airport.  All of the delays are under investigation by the Department. 

The larger U.S. airlines have been required to file complete reports on their long tarmac delays for domestic flights since October 2008.  Under a rule that took effect Aug. 23, 2011, all U.S. and foreign airlines operating at least one aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats must report lengthy tarmac delays at U.S. airports.

Also beginning Aug. 23, 2011, carriers operating international flights may not allow tarmac delays at U.S. airports to last longer than four hours without giving passengers an opportunity to deplane.  There is a separate three-hour limit on tarmac delays involving domestic flights, which went into effect in April 2010.  Exceptions to the time limits for both domestic and international flights are allowed only for safety, security, or air traffic control-related reasons.  Severe weather could cause or exacerbate such situations.

The consumer report also includes data on on-time performance, cancellations, chronically delayed flights, and the causes of flight delays filed with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by the reporting carriers.  In addition, the consumer report contains information on mishandled baggage reports filed by consumers with the carriers, and disability and discrimination complaints received by DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division.  The consumer report also includes reports of incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets traveling by air, as required to be filed by U.S. carriers. 

A news release on the Air Travel Consumer Report is available at http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/november-airline-consumer-complaints-down-previous-year-october. The full consumer report is available at www.dot.gov/individuals/air-consumer/air-travel-consumer-reports. Detailed information on flight delays is available at www.bts.gov

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