Photo: webhamster via flickr
United Airlines racked up the highest number of consumer complaints of any U.S. airline — and ranked among the bottom in on-time performance — in March, the month it switched to Continental Airlines’ reservation system, as well as a single frequent-flier program and website.The massive technological changeover, conducted in the wee hours of March 3, initially resulted in widespread flight delays.
That month, the Chicago-based carrier logged 260 consumer complaints — three times more than the next highest number of complaints logged by another airline. The two most common types of complaints, which are categorized by subject, were boarding and flight problems. Other categories include customer service and baggage.
Of the 15 U.S.-based carriers reporting data, United ranked in the bottom three for on-time performance in March with a 77.4 per cent on-time arrival rate. On-time percentages were worse for Virgin America and ExpressJet Airlines, which operates the largest number of United Express flights for United.
United’s average on-time rate for the quarter was 4 percentage points lower than the average on-time rate of 84 per cent for all U.S. carriers in the first quarter of the year.
United — the world’s largest airline — merged with Houston-based Continental in 2010. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport is its largest hub.