WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — Air travel has gotten worse in the past year, based on consumer complaints filed with the U.S. government.

U.S. Department of Transportation said Friday it received nearly 97,000 complaints in 2023, up from about 86,000 the year prior.

That's the highest number of consumer complaints about airlines since 2020, when airlines were slow to give customers refunds after the coronavirus pandemic curtailed air travel.

The increase in complaints came as airlines canceled far fewer U.S. flights: 116,700, or 1.2% of the total, in 2023, compared with about 210,500, or 2.3%, in 2022, according to FlightAware data. However, delays remained stubbornly high last year, at around 21% of all flights.

So far in 2024, cancellations remain relatively low, about 1.3% of all flights, but delays are still at 21%.

More than two-thirds of all complaints in 2023 involved U.S. airline companies, and 25% foreign airlines. Most of the remainder involved travel agents and tour operators.

The Transportation Department said the increase in complaints is in part the result of more consumers knowing their rights and having the ability to file a complaint.

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