Tips on complaining | Civil Aviation Authority (2024)

If you have checked your rights and are sure you are entitled to receive a payment from your airline following a problem with a flight, it’s important to make your case effectively.

  • The airline will use the information you provide to help judge if your case is valid. It helps to provide as much detail as possible.
  • If anything goes wrong with your claim, it’s useful to have a record of your communications. Keep a copy of everything you send.

Use your airline’s preferred method

Many airlines have a standard procedure for dealing with claims. If so, use it. You might have to send a letter to a particular address or fill in a standard claim form. Check the airline’s website for instructions, or call them to find out what to do.

Some airlines now have a clause in their T&Cs stating that when lodging a claim, passengers must first contact directly the airline, allowing the airline to respond directly to them before engaging third parties to claim on their behalf.

If no standard procedure is available, it may be quickest to make initial contact by email. You can also send a letter.

Set out your case well

When you first contact your airline, aim to set out your case clearly and concisely. Explain what happened and when, and why you feel you are entitled to receive a payment.

Be particularly clear about what you want. State exactly what compensation and expenses you are claiming. You can learn more about your rights by accessing the dedicated pages through the following links

  • Delays, Cancellations, Denied Boarding and Downgrades
  • Special Assistance
  • Baggage problems

Send your claim to the airline’s customer relations department. You can escalate your complaint if you don’t get the result you hoped for.

Include all relevant information

Give the airline as much information as possible. Try to include:

  • Your full contact details – including address, email and phone number
  • Full details of all passengers – including names and addresses
  • Your booking reference and travel dates
  • The flight number, departure and destination airports
  • Details of where the disruption occurred
  • Information about the length of delays
  • The names of any staff you spoke to

You should also send as many supporting documents and as much evidence as you can. This might include:

  • Copies of all relevant receipts, if you are claiming expenses
  • Copies of all tickets, boarding cards and booking confirmations

Providing evidence to an airline that you were on a flight

We believe that passengers are able to demonstrate that they were on a delayed or cancelled flight in a number of ways. If you no longer have the tickets, It may be that you have bank or credit card statements to support your claim.

It could also be that you have other evidence that helps support your claim like:

  • emails from the airline
  • luggage tags
  • receipts from the airport
  • phone records
  • or passport stamps

The airline should then use the information provided by you to check against their own records. If you have no evidence at all to demonstrate that you were on a flight, and the airline refuses to handle your complaint on that basis, you are able to make a subject access request (a request for personal information held about you by a business) under the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 ("GDPR"). A copy of your personal data should be provided free, however airlines may charge for additional copies. You should provide the airline with some information so that they can find your records. This should be at a minimum the date of your flight, the departure and arrival airports and the passenger name/s.

Help with preparing and managing your complaint

We recommend that consumers should complain directly to the airline or airport concerned. There are also several tools and resources are available to help guide you through the complaints process.

Here are two examples:


Resolver is a free and independent tool that can be used across several sectors including transport, energy and public services. Please note that not all airlines or airports accept complaints made through Resolver.

You can use this service for:

  • guidance on your rights
  • help with preparing emails
  • storing all your important documents in a secure case file
  • information on when to escalate your complaint


The guidance published by Which? explains:

  • the rules on flight delays and compensation
  • how to challenge extraordinary circ*mstances
  • how to appeal a decision

You can also enter your travel details into a flight delay compensation tool that creates a compensation claim letter for you to send to the airline.

Tips on complaining | Civil Aviation Authority (2024)


Tips on complaining | Civil Aviation Authority? ›

When you first contact your airline, aim to set out your case clearly and concisely. Explain what happened and when, and why you feel you are entitled to receive a payment. Send your claim to the airline's customer relations department. You can escalate your complaint if you don't get the result you hoped for.

How do I complain about an airline effectively? ›

How to Complain to the Airlines: Effective Ways to Get Ahead
  1. Take notes when anything goes wrong. Photos help, too. ...
  2. Try to resolve the problem on the spot. ...
  3. Write a good complaint. ...
  4. Be reasonable in what you demand. ...
  5. Start with official channels.

Is it worth complaining to an airline? ›

If you can't resolve the problem at the airport, you may want to file a complaint with the airline. DOT requires airlines to acknowledge consumer complaints within 30 days of receiving them and to send consumers written responses addressing these complaints within 60 days of receiving them.

How do I complain about aviation? ›

Public Grievance
  1. Public Grievance Officer.
  2. Shri Ambuj Sharma, Deputy Secretary. Ministry of Civil Aviation, Room No.50 , Ground Floor, B-Block, Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi - 110 003.
  3. Tel No: 011-24641912 (Office)
  4. E-mail:pgo-moca[at]gov[dot]in.

What to do if an airline does not respond to a complaint? ›

If you have already made a written complaint to an airline or airport and you are not satisfied with the outcome or have not received a reply within 8 weeks, the CAA's Passenger Advice and Complaints Team (PACT) may be able to help.

Does filing a complaint with the FCC do anything? ›

The FCC cannot resolve all individual complaints, but we can provide information about your possible next steps. The collective data we receive from complaints helps us keep a pulse on what consumers are experiencing, may lead to investigations and serves as a deterrent to the companies we regulate.

What airline has the most customer complaints? ›

In 2022 , Frontier Airlines reported 20.26 customer complaints for each 100,000 enplanements on domestic-scheduled operations. This was the highest rate of customer complaints among U.S. carriers.

What to do if an airline won't refund? ›

If you contact the airline or ticket agent to obtain a required refund and you are refused that refund, you should file a complaint against the airline or ticket agent with the Department at

How to ask an airline for compensation? ›

To receive compensation for delayed flights, call your airline through their customer service line or go to the customer service desk if you are at the airport to file a claim. However, you will only get compensated if the delay is within the airline's control and is not weather-related.

Can you sue a travel agency for not refunding your money? ›

If communication fails and the travel agent still refuses to refund, then it might be a good idea to look into filing a lawsuit. It's important to consider the costs of legal action and whether it is worthwhile compared to the value of the flight ticket.

Are FAA complaints anonymous? ›


The toll-free Hotline, 1-800-255-1 11 1, provides a means for persons with knowledge of unsafe aviation situations, improper recordkeeping, or safety violations to report these without fear of recrimination. Anonymous and confidential reports are accepted.

What is the website to complain about airlines? ›

Welcome to, the world's largest airline complaints organization. Have a complaint about an airline? Post it here and hold the airlines accountable.

How to make a complaint? ›

Put it in writing

It is helpful if you can put your complaint in writing. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, you could ask a friend, carer, family member or an organisation like Citizens Advice to help you. Write 'complaint' at the top of your letter or email, so there can be no doubt.

Which airline has the least complaints? ›

Based on our analysis, Delta is the most reliable airline. Delta Air Lines performed the best in on-time percentage and involuntary denied boardings during the time period we analyzed. Alaska Airlines came in second, followed by United Airlines and American Airlines.

How long do airlines have to respond to complaints? ›

As a first step, you need to complain to the airport/airline directly to allow them the opportunity to resolve the dispute. If they are unable to resolve your dispute within 8 weeks, or the business confirms that the dispute has reached deadlock, you can then apply to use this service.

Can I sue an airline for bad customer service? ›

Besides suing in small claims court you can also file a complaint against an airline with the DOT. The DOT's Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (ACPD) reviews and responds to consumer complaints against airlines.

How to ask for compensation from an airline? ›

To receive compensation for delayed flights, call your airline through their customer service line or go to the customer service desk if you are at the airport to file a claim. However, you will only get compensated if the delay is within the airline's control and is not weather-related.

How do I report an airline for not refunding? ›

How To File a DOT Complaint. The process of filing a DOT complaint is simple. The online form takes around 15 minutes to complete. On the form, under Description of Problem/Inquiry/Comment, briefly explain that the airline canceled your flight, what you've done to try to get a refund and how the airline responded.

How to escalate a complaint with American Airlines? ›

Although we would ask that you reach out to American Airlines Customer Relations first, you can log your complaint with CAA's Passenger Advice and Complaints Team (PACT) by completing the online complaint form via the CAA website.

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