15 Airlines With the Most Complaints [Summer 2022]

NEWS & TRENDING - TRAVEL NEWS
Every airline has dissatisfied flyers, but some are hearing far more complaints than others.
Updated May 8, 2024
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It’s no secret the airline industry is going through a difficult time. Major airlines have made efforts to try to mitigate these issues, but plenty of people are still reporting major problems when flying.

Released in June, the Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report found that flyers had quite a bit to complain about in terms of flight delays, cancellations, and other concerns.

To help you spend your travel money wisely, we’ve outlined the airlines that received the most complaints, as well as what customers were upset about most often. The data for the report was gathered in April.

Spirit Airlines

Markus Mainka/Adobe Spirit Airbus A319 airplane Medellin airport

Spirit Airlines was in first place for the most complaints, and it wasn’t even close. The budget airline received a whopping 637 complaints from customers, according to the DOT data.

More than half of those issues (394) were due to flight problems, which include cancellations, delays, or any deviation from the planned schedule.

The second-biggest complaint category for Spirit was refunds (122 complaints), followed by reservation/ticketing/boarding issues and baggage issues (30 complaints each). Learn how Spirit baggage fees work.

American Airlines

Tupungato/Adobe American Airlines fleet at O'Hare Airport in Chicago

American Airlines logged a total of 491 complaints during the month of April, with flight problems being the top issue (141).

The second-largest complaint category for the airline was refunds (97), followed by fares — which indicates complaints related to incorrect or incomplete information about fares — at 65 complaints and baggage (62).

JetBlue Airways

Markus Mainka/Adobe JetBlue Airbus A320 airplane

JetBlue Airways took third place when it comes to complaints with a total of 481 for the month.

The airline’s biggest complaint category was flight problems (281), followed by refunds (85), reservation/ticketing/boarding issues (34), and baggage (24).

Frontier Airlines

K.A/Adobe Frontier airlines

Frontier was next in line with 383 total complaints for the month, with 184 of those related to flight issues. The budget airline’s second-largest complaint category was refunds (67), followed by reservation/ticketing/boarding issues (35), and baggage issues (32).

Notably, Frontier also had the highest number of complaints about overbooking of any airline on the list, with 26 for the month.

United Airlines

Rafael Ben-Ari/Adobe United Airlines planes in San Francisco International Airport

United Airlines rounded out the top five with 326 complaints total, although the airline’s problem areas were a bit more spread out than those of some of the other airlines.

The top complaint category was flight issues (92), followed by issues with refunds (69), fares (35), and reservation/ticketing/boarding and baggage (34 complaints each).

Southwest Airlines

jetcityimage/Adobe Southwest Airlines Boeing 737s preparing for departure

Southwest Airlines had 227 complaints total. More than half of those complaints (120) were related to flight problems.

The next largest complaint category for Southwest was refunds (36), followed by baggage (16), and fares and disability-related complaints (14 each). Disability-related complaints refer to civil rights issues for travelers with disabilities.

Delta Air Lines

Cerib/Adobe Delta Airlines Boeing 767

Delta Air Lines came in seventh place for total complaints, with 217 overall. The airline’s top complaint category was flight problems (79), followed by refunds (29), baggage (27), and customer service (23).

Customer service complaints can refer to issues with staff members, problems with in-flight meals or service, or seating issues.

Allegiant Air

Ryan/Adobe Allegiant Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83

Allegiant Air was the last airline to receive more than 100 complaints for the month of April, with 110 in total.

Allegiant received an equal number of complaints for flight problems and issues with refunds at (33). The airline also received complaints for disability issues (13) and reservation/ticketing/boarding issues (12).

Alaska Airlines

Rob/Adobe Alaska Airlines On Approach

Alaska Airlines had 68 customer complaints. The airline’s most common complaint was flight problems (24), followed by refund issues (12).

The next largest complaint category for Alaska was reservation/ticketing/boarding (eight), followed by baggage and customer service (six each).

SkyWest Airlines

Markus Mainka/Adobe SkyWest Bombardier CRJ-200 airplane

Rounding out the top 10, regional airline SkyWest, which is headquartered in Utah, had 37 complaints.

SkyWest’s most common complaint was flight problems (10), followed by baggage (eight), and refunds and customer service issues, (tied with four each).

Republic Airways

Andrey Popov/Adobe Upset Woman Lost Baggage While Traveling

Republic Airways, a regional airline based in Indiana, followed closely behind SkyWest with 36 complaints.

Republic’s most common issue was flight problems (13). That was followed by refund issues (eight) and reservation/ticketing/boarding and baggage issues (tied with five each).

Envoy Air

JHVEPhoto/Adobe Envoy sign on the building

Envoy Air, a regional airline based in Texas, had 29 complaints.

The airline’s largest complaint category was flight problems (eight), followed closely by refund and baggage issues (six complaints each). The airline also received three complaints for overbooking.

Hawaiian Airlines

Kyo46/Adobe Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200

Hawaiian Airlines had 22 complaints during April. The airline — which connects the Hawaiian islands to the continental U.S., as well as to destinations in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand — received six complaints about refunds.

The airline also received complaints about flight problems and disability issues (four each), as well as fare issues (three).

Sun Country Airlines

Ryan/Adobe  Sun Country Airlines Boeing 737

Sun Country Airlines took the 14th spot when it comes to complaints with 20.

The airline’s top complaint category was refunds (eight), followed by flight problems (four), fare issues (three), and customer service and reservation/ticketing/board (tied with two each).

PSA Airlines and Endeavor Air

franz12/Adobe bored girl tourist

PSA Airlines and Endeavor Air tied for the 15th spot on the list, with 18 complaints each for April. Flight problems was the biggest category for both airlines, with 10 complaints for PSA and nine for Endeavor.

Refunds was the next biggest category for PSA (three), while baggage and customer service tied for second place for Endeavor (three complaints each).

Overbooking and disability issues also made PSA’s list (with two complaints each), and Endeavor got two for overbooking as well.

Bottom line

ArtushFoto/Adobe Peoples walking and carries luggage in Vienna airport terminal

Keep in mind that the larger airlines featured here — think United, American, and Delta — serve a lot more customers per day than the average regional airline, so the companies will naturally rack up more complaints.

Still, it’s helpful to know which airlines your fellow flyers have had issues with, especially if you’re considering whether it's really worth whipping out one of the best travel credit cards in your wallet and booking with a specific airline for your next vacation.

By paying close attention to who is earning the highest marks from consumers, you can avoid throwing away money when you make travel plans.

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Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.

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