London – The United States Department of Transportation has released its latest Air Travel Consumer Report. This report consists of data about the airline’s operational data for the month of July, measuring things like: on-time performance, complaints received, and mishandled baggage.
Initial data shows there has been a 16.5% increase in complaints between June and July (2022) and complaints received overall have increased by 260% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The information released is done in an effort to help consumers who want to see the data behind the quality of service provided by airlines.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has recently told airlines to pull up their socks and improve their service. Alongside this feedback, a dashboard has been created which means passengers who have experienced disruption such as a delay or cancellation can determine what they are owed by the airline.
Since the start of this panel, nine airlines have continued to change their processes to guarantee meals and/or hotels in the event of significant delays or cancellations within the airlines’ control.
Airline operations are now monitored to protect passengers from unrealistic flight scheduling and to verify that airlines comply with aviation consumer protection requirements.
The 607,657 flights that were carried out in July 2022 were 13.5% lower than the pre-pandemic July 2019. These 2022 figures were also up 0.35% from the same time last year and 4.1% more much compared to the previous month in June 2022.
Cancellations were virtually unchanged in both years, measuring 1.8% in 2022 versus 1.7% in 2021. When looking before the pandemic, there was a cancellation rate of 2.1% versus a higher baseline of 717,684 scheduled flights.
The report recorded the following comments about ‘on time’ and ‘cancellations’ during July:
“In July 2022, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 74.9% from 73.5% in June 2022 and down from 76.9% in July 2019 before the pandemic. The year-to-date on-time rate for 2022 is 75.8%.
“In July 2022, marketing reporting companies canceled 1.8% of their scheduled domestic flights, higher than the rate of 1.7% in July 2021 and lower than the rate of 2.1% in July 2019 before the pandemic and 3.1% in June 2022.”
During the month, the Department of Transport received 6,831 complaints about airline service from passengers. These numbers are high. 16.5% higher than June 2022 and a staggering 264.3% increase from the 1,875 received in July 2019.
When breaking down these complaints, 50.6% were against US carriers, 43.3% against foreign air carriers, and 414 fell on the threshold of travel companies.
The most frequent complaints were related to baggage, with 27% of the percentage for baggage issues, mostly against foreign air carriers. A second (26.5%) of the complaints were about late cancellations or deviations from the schedule.
All airlines that subject consumers to disruption through delay or cancellation are encouraged to immediately refund passengers who do not want to accept any alternative offered.
Since the implementation of the aforementioned panel, the process of issuing refunds has proven to be more streamlined. The Office of Aviation Consumer Protection holds airlines responsible for refund requests.
Things like taking enforcement action against airlines that prevent them from issuing refunds to those consumers who are entitled to them.
Other categories of air travel complaints included in the report include; tarmac delays, mishandled luggage, wheelchairs and scooters misused (1,131), crashes or overselling of seats, incidents involving animals (2), complaints about the treatment of disabled passengers (248) and also complaints for discrimination (13).
For more information and reference on the ATCR, follow the link for the full and comprehensive report: https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/2022-07/July%202022%20ATCR.pdf
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