Air Travelers Have More to Complain About

New figures out on airline travel this week indicate that travelers are becoming more and more unhappy with their experiences. In particular, lost luggage is growing as a travel complaint.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Coffee, tea or - what, are you dreaming or something? You'll take peanuts and like it.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released statistics on airline travel this week to confirm the obvious - air travel is becoming less reliable and more of a chore.

In 2006, one out of every four flights was delayed or canceled. I think I was on all of them. Almost half of all airline delays and cancellations are blamed on weather, but Ahmed Abdelghany, assistant professor of airline management at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, says that congested airline schedules and cutbacks in staff caused at least as many delays. And airlines must handle four million bags, with almost seven bags for every thousand passengers.

American Eagle, if you've wondered, had the worst record, losing twice as many bags than the average. Jet Blue, which flies to only a few places, fumbled the fewest. So if you're flying on American Eagle, stuff a change of underwear in your pocket.

Industry analysts say tighter security on carry-on bags lead to more checked luggage, which gives airlines more bags to send to Karachi as you head for Wichita, Kansas.

More people are flying. That's also the case in India, although a significant number of passengers there are making their first trip. BBC reported this week that planes have been forced to land when passengers felt the need to talk things over with the pilot. And in another flight, a passenger tried to open the cabin door shortly after takeoff, maybe to check on his luggage.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: