how to complain in the us

How to Complain in the US

First of all, let us point out that the American Airlines are demanded by the Department of Transportation to give their clients whatever information is needed in order to file in a complaint with the company. They have to display these details on their web sites, all e-ticket confirmations, as well as ticket counters or gates.

Subsequently, they need to sustain the receipt of the complain within one month and submit a firm answer no later that two months of receiving the complaint. By an large, carriers do take account of people’s DISSATISFACTIONS, or at least, take note of such jeremiads, but they deal with them quite prudently.

In other words, they are well aware that you have certain rights but they also attend to their own business. Therefore, you may not only have to negotiate with them but you’ll also need to ponder on how to go about when expressing your dissatisfaction. The best way to initiate a complaint is to start with the AIRLINE COMPANY.

Most of the carriers, if not all, have a so-called Customer Service Representatives office located at the airport so that the majority of the issues may be attended on the spot. Accommodation or different amenities are usually settled there as well as all sorts of everyday requests or complaints.

In case you consider that you did all you could to make yourself heard at the airport and did not manage to receive a satisfactory solution to your claim, than you’d better try to contact the CARRIER’S CONSUMER OFFICE at its HQ. You’ll find their contact details on their websites. You may find a form such as the one used by the American Airlines which may be used to report not only complaints but also different suggestions or praises.

United Airlines, on the other hand, also have a similar form on their website but they also allow you to upload up to three files to substantiate your message. Furthermore, their “United Customer Commitment document” states that “We respond quickly to our customers’ complaints. If you have a complaint regarding our services or our product, we want to hear from you. Information about where to direct your written complaint is on our website; on all E-ticket® confirmations; and is available upon request at each United ticket counter and boarding gate in the airports we serve. We will acknowledge written complaints within 30 days of receipt and we will send a substantive written response within 60 days of receiving your written complaint”.

Remember, however, that you may not solve anything if you resort to merely uttering your OBJECTIONS. You need to back them up. So, use all of your travel documents, i.e. ticket or confirmation, boarding pass, receipts, to substantiate your complaint.

Last, but not least, we’d like to summarize the helpful tips suggested by Department of Transportation and which may come in handy when writing your complaints. If you choose to express your dissatisfaction through a letter, try to write no more than two pages and include the essential facts in there – nobody will enjoy reading the soap opera of your air travel adventures – just stick to the facts.

Do not forget to write your telephone number preceded by its area code – you’ll be easier to reach. Use an adequate style and maintain a formal tone in your report. In fact, try to report specific facts, such as times, dates, cities, flight numbers, rather than feelings.

Do use the abovementioned documents, any documents that may sustain you claim……but do not include original copies in your message – just send them photocopies of any tickets or receipt which can support your point of view. Be sensible and tell them what you’d expect from them in order to solve your problems. Express your standpoint in a rational way. Finally, if you choose to follow these pieces of advice, you’re more than likely to be successful in your attempt.

If you feel that you did not manage to obtain just satisfaction to your claim, you may try to contact the Department of Transportation, namely DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD). You may give them a call, write or use their website form. The ACPD may be phoned 24 at 202-366-2220 (TTY 202-366-0511) to record your complaint. You can also send us a letter at:

Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590.

If none of the above worked, than you may as well go to court with your case. DOT published a pamphlet entitled Tell It to the Judge at which includes all you need to know in order to settle your dissatisfaction in the small claims court. This may eventually turn to be the best way for you to help yourself. The best thing about this solution is that such courts are usually inexpensive and you do not need a lawyer to defend your point of view.

Of course, if the judge rules against you and you consider you need to appeal the decision to a higher court, just ask the clerk about procedures. But keep in mind that appeals mean extra expenses as well as efforts and they may also require you to use the services of an attorney.