DOT numbers are out, and when it comes to complaints, Delta and its new partner Northwest found themselves losing ground. I suppose that's fairly common in the early stages of a merger, but it's still not good news.
For the month, seven of the nineteen reporting airlines showed complaints rising year-over-year, and four of those were related to Delta in some way. Delta itself came in dead last with complaints rising from 1.57 to 2.06 complaints per thousand passengers. Pinnacle, the regional primarily flying for Northwest, was next to last and increased from 1.26 to 1.46. Northwest itself was fifth from the bottom rising from .98 to 1.11. Even SkyWest, which flies for both Delta and United, saw a jump from .32 to .74.
The complaints appear to be across the board. Delta, for example, saw 14 percent of its complaints on "flight problems," 14 percent on "res/tktg/boarding," 14 percent on "refunds," 25 percent on "baggage," 11 percent on "customer service," and the rest were scattered. That is not what an airline wants to see - there's not one place they can focus.
Of course, any time an airline goes through a massive merger, complaints are bound to rise. The key will be whether or not they can reverse the trend relatively quickly.
I'll talk about the other three airlines with higher complaints in my next post.