Complaints about airlines are way up this summer, shocking absolutely no one who has traveled recently. The number of grievances, which range from mishandled baggage to cancellations and delays, has risen 270% above pre-pandemic levels, according to the federal government's Air Travel Consumer Report for June.
The report found that there was a 34.9% increase in air travel service complaints from May to June, which marked the beginning of this year's exasperating summer travel season. Airlines are operating fewer flights, with only about 86% of their June 2019 capacity, according to the report. Flight delays have been such a problem that consumers have taken to social media with tips and hacks for what to do.
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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sent a letter to U.S. airlines earlier in August calling them out on their questionable performance and unveiling plans to create an interactive dashboard that will clearly show each airline's cancellation, delay, and refund policies. The site is scheduled to be up by Labor Day — hopefully in time to make the holiday travel season go a little more smoothly.
The Transportation Department also has proposed a rule that would make it easier for consumers to get a refund, rather than a travel voucher when a flight is canceled or its schedule is significantly changed. A decision will be made on the policy following a 90-day comment period, which ends in November.