How to File Airline Complaints

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If you have ever been inconvenienced by overbooked flights, poor onboard airline service, or unreasonably long flight delays, then you should know how to properly voice your complaints to the airlines. You can file a complaint with the airline company or with the federal authorities. Either way, filing airline complaints will not only help you get recompense for the troubles that you had to endure, it will get airline companies to improve their services and uphold consumer rights.


1. List all of the details of your complaint. Make sure to list the following minimum details:
a. your name
b. address
c. daytime phone number (including area code) and e-mail address
d. name of the airline or company about which you are complaining
e. flight date
f. flight number if known
g. origin and destination cities of your trip
h. concise description of your complaint.
Include any other details that will help clarify the airline complaint you want to file.

2. Contact the customer service or complaint department of the airline in question. Give the information about your complaint and request prompt action. Some airlines will offer refunds, free tickets, or other indemnification for the inconvenience you have suffered from their services.

3. File your airline complaint with the Department of Transportation if the airline operates to or from US airspace. Do this if you feel that your complaint is serious and/or you have not received a prompt response from the airline after sending the complaint directly to them. You can call the DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD) and leave a message on its voice recorder anytime from Monday to Friday, 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern Time. Contact the ACPD at:
202-366-2220 or 202-366-0511

4. Send a letter to the ACPD to file your airline complaint. You can send a letter of complaint to the following address:
Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590

5. File your airline complaint electronically with the ACPD using their online form at Make sure that all required fields are filled out before you attempt to submit the form.

6. Look up other government agencies that can help you get action on your filed airline complaint. At the state level, consumer protection departments can hear your complaint and help you get faster responses from the airline.

7. Share your complaints with consumer protection groups. Look up Web sites like, which advocates consumer rights protection for travelers. Your experiences may be similar to the experiences of others and your joint complaints can prompt companies and concerned authorities to address your airline complaints faster.

Filing airline complaints is not purely a self-serving action. You may get a free hotel stay or free airline tickets as compensation for a severely delayed or overbooked flight. You will also help other travelers who in the future may include loved ones by prompting airlines to improve their services. They will not have to endure the problems you experienced that prompted you to file your airline complaints with the proper authorities.

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