Friday, April 11, 2014

Spirit ‘most-complained about’ airline, New Jersey consumer group report claims

Spirit Airlines, the dominant carrier at Atlantic City International Airport, generated the most complaints from passengers among the major airlines over the past five years, according to a new report by a New Jersey-based consumer group.

Other “most-complained about” airlines include Frontier Airlines and United Airlines, two other carriers that have a major presence in New Jersey, the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group said Friday. Frontier recently made Trenton-Mercer Airport its East Coast base, while United launched new service to Atlantic City on April 1, in addition to using Newark Liberty International Airport as a hub.

“New Jersey fliers should take note: United Airlines was one of the most-complained about airlines every year of the study,” Jen Kim, director of NJPIRG’s Law & Policy Center, said in a statement. “And Frontier Airlines saw a big spike in complaints in 2013, the year it began service out of the Trenton airport.”

NJPIRG analyzed passenger complaints made to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Consumer Protection Division about major airlines from 2009-2013. The data included such things as delayed or canceled flights, lost luggage, poor customer service and ticketing problems.

The airline that generated the most complaints per 100,000 passengers was Spirit, the NJPIRG said. Spirit had about three times more complaints per passenger than any other airline. Frontier, United and American Airlines also ranked high in complaints, the report found.

Airlines generating the fewest complaints over the same five-year span were Southwest, Alaska Airlines, AirTran Airways and JetBlue.

The NJPIRG report, titled “The Unfriendly Skies: Five Years of Airline Passenger Complaints to the DOT,” may be downloaded here.