People are fed up with summer travel chaos. When will it get better?

Lily Jamali Aug 29, 2022
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Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

People are fed up with summer travel chaos. When will it get better?

Lily Jamali Aug 29, 2022
Heard on:
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

This won’t come as a surprise to a lot of people: The Department of Transportation says U.S. air travel complaints jumped 35% in June, compared to May. And complaints are up almost 270% from pre-pandemic levels, even though carriers are flying fewer flights.

Delays, cancellations — welcome to air travel, summer 2022 edition. Cowen’s Helane Becker said shortages of pilots, flight attendants and mechanics have wreaked havoc as demand for leisure travel surges.

“I’ve covered the airline industry for 40 years. And I’ve never seen it like this,” Becker said. “And it’s frightening to me, because I think it’s going to be like this for at least another year.”

Becker said a lack of air traffic controllers at airports has made things even worse, and the Federal Aviation Administration is playing catch up trying to get more trained.

But the airlines have taken most of the blame for this summer’s travel nightmare. Mike Boyd, head of aviation consulting firm Boyd Group International, said the way airlines have responded to stranded passengers has ticked a lot of them off.

“The main reason is airlines are reluctant to refund when they should,” Boyd said.

The Department of Transportation has proposed new rules that would expand the conditions that trigger refunds for travelers.

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