Unlimited passes from Chinese airlines irk citizens says, Chinese aviation report

Airlines in China have been complained about a lot lately by citizens as consumers have been unhappy about their services and ticketing. 

In a statement, the Civil Aviation Administration of China released the figure for April. 9,649 complaints were filed with Chinese domestic airlines, up from 7,678 complaints in March, with 4,640 of them being "abnormal flight services" (48.09%), followed by 3,328 cases (34.49%) about ticketing and 657 cases (6.81%) about baggage services. These top three types of complaints already accounted for about 90% of the total number of complaints. 

According to a report from Nikkei Asia, consumer complaints filed with domestic air carriers in China have risen sharply. In March, 7,678 complaints were filed with domestic airlines, up from 700 in the same month of 2019. The report said the spike in complaints from flyers is traceable to unlimited flight tickets sold by airlines to stimulate demand for air travel, which has been heavily impacted by the pandemic. 

Last year, to attract more customers to fly, Chinese Airlines, including the country's largest player in the industry Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, introduced discount tickets such as offering unlimited weekend flights during a designated period for several hundred US dollars.

Although the measure successfully attracted customers to fly, they were also dissatisfied with a number of issues. On Black Cat Complaint, a website operated by Sina, common problems include failure to book flights with unlimited flight tickets, decreased flight options, and phone calls that could not get through. 

However, as the aviation industry in China is showing signs of recovery, the dissatisfaction stemmed from unlimited flights is likely to subside, as many expired at the end of June. For example, China Southern Airlines' passenger traffic measured by revenue passenger kilometres increased by 23.9% compared with the same period last year, of which, passenger traffic for domestic and regional routes increased by 24.61% and 294.37% respectively, while that for international routes decreased by 1.70%, as compared with the same period last year.

Although demand for international flights plunged due to the pandemic, domestic flights have become crucial to airlines' business. For example, in June, Air China and its subsidiaries' passenger capacity measured by available seat kilometres recorded a year-on-year increase of 32.1% and passenger traffic recorded a year-on-year increase of 41.0%. For domestic routes, passenger capacity increased by 31.5% and passenger traffic increased by 41.2%, as compared to the same period last year.

For international routes, passenger capacity decreased by 17.3% and passenger traffic decreased by 34.6%, as compared to the same period last year.

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