Customer complaints are down about air travel, but you’d never know it watching either CBS or NBC. Both networks had April 2 reports about a new study that says “what a lot of frequent flyers already know – it has gotten worse,” said NBC anchor Brian Williams.
Both reports then went into detail about declining arrival times (comparing February 2007 with the same month in 2006), and emphasized how bad things must be for travelers. “Just when it seemed it could not get any worse, proof today that it has,” claimed NBC’s Trish Regan.
Buried in both reports, however, was an interesting high note: airline customer complaints are actually down. “United and U.S. Airways had the highest rate of complaints, which were down overall. Some experts say passengers are getting used to bad service,” said Regan.
CBS’s Nancy Cordes used a similar line on "Evening News", again claiming that a decline in complaints was bad. “Overall, passenger complaints actually dropped slightly, though the authors of the study say that might just be because passenger expectations have dropped, too,” she said.
The two reports mentioned airline industry complaints that Cordes called “bad weather and an overstretched, outdated air traffic control system.” Neither actually quoted an industry executive and, instead, relied on “aviation experts” and NBC’s own travel editor, who had just had his flight cancelled.
Unsurprisingly, Travel Editor Peter Greenberg blamed the airlines. “This comes down to poor scheduling, crew scheduling and connecting flights.”