When things go wrong with the airlines I’ve turned to the DoT to complain and have had good results. They have a convenient online complaint form here if you ever need it.
When American had the nerve to cancel our flight to London, strand us overnight in JFK, lose our baggage, and refuse to cooperate in providing a refund, the DoT stepped in and took care of business. It took a good amount of time, but it was resolved in the end.
The DoT also helped me cancel an American award ticket for free after the electronics ban went into effect, as that materially changed the flight.
I recommended filing DoT complaints against Southwest when they changed their terms overnight to stop allowing hotel mileage transfers to count toward companion pass. And sure enough, Southwest relented and honored the deal for another 3 months.
After Delta’s epic $50 first class tickets to anywhere in the US, including Alaska and Hawaii, some people with reservations that weren’t ticketed were able to get them honored thanks to the DoT.
Alitalia offered a coupon that made tickets from JFK to Israel under $400 round-trip and then cancelled the tickets by adding terms to the coupon used. I recommended contacting the DoT and Alitalia decided to honor them in the end.
JAL offered the cheapest option to fly Emirates Shower Class, but in November they stealthily added $1,700 in fuel surcharges without warning to that redemption option.
People who transferred Starpoints to JAL were left holding miles that were effectively devalued without notice. JAL refused to waive the fuel surcharges or return their Starpoints. Generally speaking, once you transfer points to an airline, they are stuck there.
I recommended that people complain to the DoT.
DDF member “rileywiles23” wrote to the DoT back in November. It took 2 months, but JAL responded that they will indeed refund his miles back into Starwood Starpoints.
Have you filed a DoT complaint? Share your results in the comments!