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Airline Complaints Are Soaring: Is This Why?

Fiscal Times logo Fiscal Times 6/16/2017 Beth Braverman
FILE PHOTO: A man uses his laptop to test a new high speed inflight Internet service named Fli-Fi while on a special JetBlue media flight out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in this December 11, 2013 file picture. REUTERS/Luca © Lucas Jackson FILE PHOTO: A man uses his laptop to test a new high speed inflight Internet service named Fli-Fi while on a special JetBlue media flight out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in this December 11, 2013 file picture. REUTERS/Luca

It’s been a tough few months for the airline industry, as videos of customers being mistreated have grabbed headlines and rocketed around social media.

Public awareness of some high profile cases may be causing more consumers to complain about their own treatment and experience. The numbers of consumer complaints against airlines skyrocketed nearly 70 percent to 1,909 complaints on both a month-to-month and year-to-year basis, according to the Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report.

The incident that may have sparked the volley of complaints — United Airlines’ forcible removal of a Kentucky doctor on an overbooked plane — occurred on April 9.

The report found an uptick in every category of complaints, with the largest jump in cancellations, with the number of complaints growing from 137 to 347. The number of discrimination complaints, though extremely low, tripled from four to 12.

While United may have had the most high-profile problems that month, it ranked third in complaints. The data showed that American Airlines received the most complains (324), followed by Delta Air Lines (297) and United (265). Regional carrier Trans State Airlines had the fewest complaints, with just five.

All of this discontent isn’t stopping consumers from flying. Trade group Airlines for America expects summer air travel to hit a record high this year. The group expects its members to carry more than 234 million passengers from June to August, an increase of 4 percent over last summer. To accommodate the increased demand, airlines are adding about 123,000 seats per day to their schedules. 

WATCH: Roach invasion on plane (provided by BuzzVideos)

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