Airline Passenger Complaints Surged In 2012

ROMULUS (WWJ) – A new survey finds more travelers are complaining to the U.S. Department of Transportation about airline service — a 20 percent jump in the past year.

Private researchers, who’ve analyzed federal data on airline performance, say airlines are making seats smaller and more ticketed passengers are getting bumped from full flights. The industry is even looking at ways to make the smaller-than-a-broom closet restrooms more compact.

One traveler at Detroit Metro Airport said she’s all too familiar with some of the most common complaints.

“Delays — they don’t board you on time, which causes delays, canceled flights … but I guess that’s to be expected when you travel. I don’t know. I try not to complain too much,” she said.

But most people talking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey at Metro on Monday said they don’t know what the fuss is about.

One man, who travels around the globe for work, said it’s usually the holiday or vacation passengers who travel the least that complain the most.

“They’re just not gonna understand the games; they’re not gonna understand the seating issue… they’re just not gonna understand it.  But, to me, you sit in a first class or a business class seat and it’s a completely different experience.

“When you’re doing research, you almost have to classify the kind of person you’re talking to to understand the basis of the feedback,” he said.

Others say it’s a matter of being prepared for the requirements and rigors of air travel and being able to roll with the changes.

The survey found that, according to respondents, airline quality improved in two important areas: on time performance and baggage handling.

When it comes to smaller seats, missed connections and higher ticket prices, one traveler said he’s just used to it.

“There’s less flights in the air, so, you know the connections are sometimes tighter, planes are fuller, and all that. But, again, it goes with the territory I guess,” he said.

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