Budget carrier Tigerair received far more complaints than any other Australian domestic carrier, the Airline Customer Advocate’s annual report indicates. Most of the gripes related to refunds, flight delays or cancellations.
The Airline Customer Advocate (ACA) provides a free and independent service to eligible customers of major Australian airlines by helping resolve complaints about airline services.
In calendar year 2014, more passengers complained about refunds than anything else. Complaints over refunds made up 31% of the total. Other categories of complaint included flight delays or cancellations, cancellation requests, fees or charges and terms and conditions.
In each of those categories, Tigerair copped proportionately far more complaints than any other carrier. In the refunds category, for instance, 4.71 per 100,000 Tigerair passengers flown laid a complaint. The nearest runner up was Jetstar, but it came a long way behind Tigerair. Just 1.11 Jetstar passengers per 100,000 flown lodged a complaint.
Qantas, Regional Express (REX) and Virgin Australia also participated, but Tigerair received more than double the number of complaints than for all three other airlines combined. What’s more, it’s the third year Tigerair has topped the poll.
An explanation by Tigerair communications manager Vanessa Regan, printed in News Ltd publications, related to the airline’s results being adversely affected in 2014 by airport infrastructure limitations in Sydney and Melbourne “and a number of flight network changes that impacted the airline’s on-time performance”.
Those issues had been addressed and the airline’s on-time performance had since “improved considerably with consistently low cancellation rates,” Regan said.
The ACA is funded by the participating airlines and its role is to represent the interests of airline customers and to play a leading role in customer advocacy within the Australian airline industry.
Australian airline customers took more flights domestically and internationally overall in 2014 as total passenger numbers across all the airlines increased to 69,501,821 from 69,014,406 in 2013.
The ACA received 1132 eligible complaints, an increase of more than 13% (983) on the previous year, with refund requests and delays and cancellations still representing the biggest areas for customer dissatisfaction.
Top complaint issues received by the ACA and corresponding percentages of eligible complaints received were:
- Refund request 31%
- Flight delay or cancellation 15%
- Terms and conditions 12%
- Fees or charges 8%
- Airport Customer Services 7%
Written by Peter Needham