Airline Complaints Heading Much Higher

Complaints against major U.S. air carriers are way up, but how much action are air travelers getting? The viral video from an April incident on a United Airlines flight brought focus to the way some passengers are treated. President Paul Hudson says getting action is hard because the U.S. Department of Transportation is the only entity regulating airlines.

“Historically,” Hudson says, “they have simply compiled about 90% of the complaints for statistical purposes, and they investigate about 10%. After one-to-three years they decide if they (airlines) violated a rule.”

Have you lost baggage? That’s a big source of complaints.

“Mishandled bags are in the many hundreds of thousands, if not millions,” he says, “and there's a about 40-thousand per year that are lost.”

Airline complaints were up 70 percent in April. United Airlines actually had a strong financial performance in the first quarter. Second quarter results -- out in July -- could tell a different story.

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