How to make your airline complaint count

It’s a fact of modern times that people with something to say about customer service have a worldwide megaphone to be heard.

In the travel world, that means review sites including behemoth TripAdvisor and others are first stops for many during the trip-planning process.

For sure, Web reviews can have a huge impact on a hotel or airline business — so much so that more than a few hotels have been caught posting phony reviews with rosy praise or paying off dissatisfied customers.

But the fact remains that a complaint about bad service on a review site — while it makes you feel better — has no teeth.

In the case of air travel, there’s a better option: Tattle to Uncle Sam.

The Department of Transportation keeps tabs on how well U.S.-based airlines are serving customers. They post a monthly report here.

The complaints range from problems keeping a schedule, to discrimination and Americans with Disability Act complaints, to which airlines are routinely overbooking flights, to which ones have had animal deaths and why, and more.

The reports are compiled in part from flyer-submitted reports about service problems. You can add yours to the list by clicking here.

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Lisa Schwarz

About Lisa Schwarz

By day, I'm a St. Cloud Times editor guiding coverage of politics, government, public safety and business beats. By night, I'm leading the cubicle jailbreak as the Times Traveler. Follow me on Twitter at and on Facebook at
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