Home TIPS Doggone Airline Done Me Wrong! What Can I Do?
Doggone Airline Done Me Wrong! What Can I Do? PDF Print E-mail

Kicked off your flight? Injured when the aircraft hit rough skies? Lost luggage? Take action about it! Convenient Department of Transportation complaint forms are available online. All you need is to input your personal info, airline, flight details, and description of the incident. Then upload any supporting documents, including photos. After that, click the submit button.

From there, the complaint is entered into DOT’s aviation industry monitoring system, and becomes part of the stats in the monthly Air Travel Consumer Report. It’s distributed to the airline industry and made accessible to media and general public. DOT requires that airlines acknowledge complaints within 30 days and send “a substantive response” within 60 days of receiving it. If you believe you should get financial compensation, consider these issues before submitting.

Know airline policy: Beyond the minimum federal requirements, airlines set their own policies about flight delays, lost luggage and payments. Read the fine print before filing a complaint, as there may not be any actual violation nor compensation.

Try to solve the issue with the airline first. It’s worth trying to work out a deal with the airline directly before complaining to the DOT. Don’t be afraid to counter the airline’s first offer, with one of your own. It’s a classic negotiation. Plus, if you are a regular flier with the airline, your good will and continued business are valued.

Make sure you have the facts straight: It won’t help if you can’t recall half the details. Record them at the time of the event or as soon as possible after. Supporting evidence helps, so take a picture, note down names, save luggage tags and keep other related material.

Keep your complaint short and professional: Rambling tirades are far less effective than a to-the-point, concise statement. Keep it 250 words or less and be sure to use proper grammar, spelling and professional language.

Be clear about what you want: Keep demands realistic. Asking for $5 million because your $29.99 SmartPhone was stepped on by the attendant won’t get you far, a reasonable amount nor even a simple apology.

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