May 1, 2023

On April 12, 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) issued its updated February 2023 Air Travel Consumer Report, specifically focused on airline consumer complaint data for December 2022 and the full calendar year 2022.  A graphic representation of the complaints DOT received along with further details on the report are included below:

DOT noted that for the full calendar year of 2022, it received a total of 77,656 complaints against airlines, a 55.3% increase from 2021, though notably a 24% decrease from the total number of complaints received in 2020.  DOT also noted that of the total number of complaints it received, nearly 31% concerned flight problems (i.e., complaints for not being reimbursed for costs associated with flight problems), nearly 26% were related to ticket refunds, and nearly 16% were related to baggage issues. 

For December 2022, DOT reported receiving 16,876 complaints, which was the third highest total for a single month on record.  Flight cancellations and delays made up the highest category of complaints during this period (52.5%), followed by refund issues (14.5%) and baggage issues (13.8%).  DOT also noted that more than half of the complaints received in December 2022 were submitted against Southwest Airlines (“Southwest”) in response to its software meltdown that caused over 16,700 flight cancellations.  DOT said in the report that based on the large number of complaints against Southwest, it would be investigating further to determine if Southwest had “engaged in unrealistic scheduling of flights”, which it considers an unfair and deceptive practice and violation of federal law. 

DOT also reported that is received over 2,000 disability related complaints, up 50% from 2021, and 178 discrimination related complaints, up 32.8% from 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact Evelyn Sahr ( 202-659-6622) or Drew Derco ( 202-659-6665).

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Evelyn D. Sahr Photo Washington, D.C.

Evelyn D. Sahr

Member - Washington, D.C.

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Drew M. Derco Photo Washington, D.C.

Drew M. Derco

Member-in-Charge - Washington, D.C.

See full bio