Global air travel has boomed from 310 million passengers carried in 1970 to 4 billion in 2017. Domestic and foreign airlines serving the United States carried a record 965 million passengers last year, an increase of 3.4% from the previous record high of 933.1 million in 2016.
Problems are bound to occur with so many people flying. With rising fees, fuel surcharges, restrictive luggage policies, and excess charges, it’s no surprise that more than 90% of flyers don’t like flying. People dislike researching and booking a flight. Half of travelers find checking in and getting through security the most stressful part of traveling.
The experience is so bad, 32 million potential trips never took place in 2016, according to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association. People decided it was not worth the trouble.
Flight problems account for the most air travel complaints by far — around 40 percent of all complaints. They are broken down into three major categories — delays, misconnections and cancellations.
To identify the 14 biggest air travel complaints of 2018, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the travel complaints most frequently filed with the Department of Transportation (DOT). The complaints are categorized by industry group, such as U.S. airlines and tour operators. The data comes from the Air Travel Consumer Report, a monthly report by the DOT, which has tallied incidents through September 2018.
Safety complaints, which are handled by the Federal Aviation Administration, and security complaints, which are handled by the Transportation Security Administration, are not included.
The U.S. airlines receiving the most reports of each complaint, and the total number of each complaint for foreign airlines, as well as the month in which the most of a given complaint were reported, also came from the Air Travel Consumer Report.