Pandemic refund blues: Travelers submit record number of complaints against airlines, travel agencies in 2020

When travelers have issues with an airline, they usually pick up the phone or turn to Twitter or Facebook for help.

Lodging a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation takes a few more steps and is often seen as a last resort.

That last resort was popular in 2020, with travelers struggling to get refunds during the coronavirus pandemic filing complaints in unprecedented numbers, according to figures released Thursday in the agency’s Air Travel Consumer Report.

The DOT logged 102,550 complaints against airlines, travel agencies and tour operators last year, compared with 15,342 in 2019. That’s an increase of more than 500%.

Nearly 90% of the complaints concerned refunds, the DOT said.

Airline cancel your flight? You’re still due a refund, DOT says

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