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These 7 U.S. Airlines Have The Most Passenger Complaints

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It hasn’t been a good year for the airline industry. Summer air travel especially took a beating with flight cancellations and disruptions, and this wasn’t just the result of bad weather. With airline and airport staff shortages, ambitious scheduling, and airlines not anticipating the mass return of travelers, passenger complaints over the past year have racked up.

Upgraded Points, a travel company for maximizing travel points and rewards, has analyzed data over the past year to identify the worst airlines for complaints and has polled to find the complaints that had customers reaching for their phones.

Two friends traveling together. Travelers waiting at the airport departure area for their delay flight.

What Are Passengers Most Likely To Complain About?

Upgraded Points conducted a survey and found that flight cancellations and flight delays represent over one-quarter of the most annoying travel inconveniences rated by passengers, with flight cancelations taking the top spot. This should come as no surprise, considering more than 12,000 flights were delayed and hundreds of flights were canceled during the July 4th weekend alone this year. Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines both had the highest percentage of canceled flights for a singular airline brand, with both canceling an average of 3.7% of flights each month.

Staff Checking Passport Of Male Passenger At Counter In Airport 800

The third most likely reason to complain is mishandled baggage, where American Airlines has consistently mishandled luggage the most over the previous months. According to the latest Air Travel Consumer Reports, over 170,000 total bags across airlines were mishandled in September, equivalent to 480 bags for every 10,000 customers.

Travelers then rated being bumped from flights, poor customer service, additional fees, and gate changes as other annoyances.

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Side view portrait of young handsome man passenger in his 20s with carry-on backpack waiting at conveyor belt to pick his luggage in arrivals lounge of airport terminal building

The survey also asked travelers what they think would be fair compensation for a flight delay of 6 hours or more lost baggage. Half of Americans think a compensation between $100 and $500 is a fair price, while more than one-fifth of respondents said that between $251 to $500 is a fair compensation for a delayed flight.

When it comes to lost baggage, one in five travelers think between $501 to $1,000 is fair compensation, while almost a quarter think this should be more, with airlines providing reimbursement between $1,001 and $3,501.

Worried businessman lost his luggage at airport

Which Airlines Had The Most Complaints

The U.S. airline that had the most complaints between August 2021 to August 2022 includes budget carrier Spirit Airlines, which topped the list with 4.74 complaints for every 100,000 passengers, accounting for over 5,000 complaints. When looking at averages per 100,000 passengers, Spirit is followed by Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air. American Airlines and United Airlines had the most complaints since they also see larger numbers of passengers.

Spirit airplane taking off from airport

Each airline had more frequent complaint categories, with most Hawaiian Airlines’ complaints falling under fares and refunds, with 42.53% of Hawaiian complaints being about refunds and 15.91% being about fares in general. American Airlines regional airline PSA had almost half of its complaints about flight problems, while Allegiant Air had 15% of complaints related to a disability, and United received almost 10% of its complaints about ticketing or boarding.

Businesswoman Looking At Staff Working At Airport Check-in

Which Airlines Had The Least Disruptions

Endeavor Air, a regional airline operated by Delta, had the highest percentage average of on-time arrivals compared to any other airline at 83.8%. This was closely followed by Delta Air Lines at 83.4% and Hawaiian Airlines at 82.8%. Delta Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines also come as the bottom two airlines for flight cancellations, with Delta canceling an average of 1.38% of flights each month and Hawaiian canceling 1.6%.

teenagers fight boredom as they await their flight at RDU International airport.

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