Why You Should File Airline Complaints With the Department of Transportation
Let’s say your airline is doing something to piss you off (shocking hypothesis, I know). If you are like most people, you are probably complaining directly to the airline. However, experts say you should also file a complaint with the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The Airline Quality Rating evaluates the performance of airlines in the United States based on data submitted to the DOT. Alaska Airlines, Delta and Virgin America topped the list in 2016, followed by Frontier, Spirit and ExpressJet.
No big surprises here, but one of the authors of the report, Brent Bowen, told NPR :
Only complaints filed with the DOT are included in reviews such as airline quality ratings. So if you call Spirit or Frontier to complain about a bunch of fees or a flight cancellation, only the airline will know. Complaints to DOT, meanwhile, could potentially lead to big changes .
According to the DOT, all complaints are recorded in their monitoring system and presented to carriers in their monthly air travel customer reports. They are actively reviewing complaints in this database to see which carriers are also complying with aviation consumer protection regulations. Their database also plays a role in research and legislation.
In other words, if you really want your complaint to make a difference in the long term, you can transfer your experience to DOT. You can file a service complaint using their online form . If you have a complaint about airline safety, they suggest you contact the FAA and report the issue .
DOT has specific procedures depending on the complaint. Check them out at the link below.
Submit a Consumer Complaint | Transportation.gov