Delta wins tarmac delay hall of shame in latest month as airline complaints skyrocket

delta3The October tarmac delay numbers have just been released by the Transportation Department, and there’s good news: No one had to wait on a parked plane for more than four hours.

The bad news? Plenty of people had to wait more than three hours.

And more bad news: The number of airline complaints is up. Way up.

The department received 896 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 42.4 percent from the 629 complaints filed in October 2008 and 48.3 percent more than the total of 604 received in September 2009.

The increase in the number of October complaints is attributed primarily to British Airways’ erroneous offer of $40 fares between the United States and India. The carrier has agreed to compensate consumers for cancellation penalties and other expenses incurred due to the mistake.

I covered the BA debacle extensively on this site. Sad story.

As for tarmac delays, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics suggests there are plenty of contenders for this month’s tarmac delay hall of shame.

Delta Air Lines wins for the month, with 5 of the 12 flights. If you include its regional carriers, Delta absolutely dominates the field. Passengers on Delta flight 229 from New York to Salt Lake City had the longest wait — 229 minutes — on Oct. 3.

Oh well. There’s always November.

(Photo: Matt Hintsa/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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