The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division maintains a useful website for air travelers.
Available at www.dot.gov/airconsumer, the site provides information on how to file airline service complaints.
Whether filed by telephone (202-366-2220), by letter or by using the complaint form at the website, information filed becomes part of DOT’s computerized aviation industry monitoring system.
Complaints received are reviewed for compliance purposes and may help the agency develop future regulation.
Complaints also end up as part of the agency’s monthly, “Air Travel Consumer Report.”
These monthly reports (also available at the website) offer information on airline flight delays (including on-time performance and cancellations), incidents of mishandled baggage and oversold flights, airline consumer complaints, customer service reports to the Transportation Security Administration and reports regarding the loss, injury or death of animals during air transportation.
Some data are set out by flight day/time, airport, and cause (including whether the cause was due to the carrier such as maintenance or crew problems, or caused by circumstances outside an airline’s control).
Data include the rate of mishandled-baggage reports per 1,000 passengers by carrier and for the industry, based on reports carriers receive from passengers. For example, according to the DOT, in January 2013 Virgin America ranked best (with the lowest number of mishandled-baggage reports per 1,000 passengers, at 0.87).