Who should I contact about a bad experience with an airline?

Airfare Question of the Month
by , SmarterTravel Staff
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Editor's Note: This story was originally published on April 10, 2008. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, Airfare Question of the Month, government regulation, Jessica Labrencis, passenger rights.

Dear Jessica,

Who should I contact if I have a bad experience with an airline?

--E.R.

Dear E.R.,

You have several options when it comes to reporting a bad experience with an airline.

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First, you can always complain to the airline itself. Look for the "contact us" section of the airline's website, where you'll find the customer relations phone number, email address, and mailing address. If you're seeking compensation, written requests are often the most effective. Before firing off a letter, however, take a look at tips for effective complaints from SmarterTravel.com columnist Ed Perkins and AirSafe.com.

The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD) maintains a database for complaints against airlines, and the complaints are compiled monthly in the Air Travel Consumer Report, available to the air industry, the media, and the general public. To contact the ACPD, you can call 202-366-2220 or fill out the online web form. If you prefer to write a letter, it should be addressed to:

Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
Washington, D.C., 20590

Lastly, if you're primarily seeking a forum to vent your frustrations, you'll find plenty of travelers with whom to commiserate on websites devoted to complaints about airlines.

 
 
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