Complaining to DOT good for travelers

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Experts say complaining to Department of Transportation works in consumers’ favor, yet fewer people are complaining about airlines to DOT.

The Airline Quality Rating report which was released in April 2014, shows that complaints to DOT fell 15 percent in 2013 from the previous year. Christopher Elliott, who is an airline expert and consumer advocate, says consumers’ confidence in airlines resolving problems led to fewer complaints to DOT. However, Rick Seaney, who is the CEO of FareCompare.com, adds that most consumers don’t know about DOT and are more likely to complain directly to airlines.

Experts say you should register any complaint with DOT. Elliott says DOT’s Aviation Enforcement Division can intervene on consumers’ behalf if an airline is found to have broken DOT rules. This can lead to refunds. Seaney adds that a high volume of complaints can influence airlines to correct their policies.