Apr 1, 2024 - News

Richmond ranks high for TSA complaints

Data: TSA via Data Liberation Project; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
Data: TSA via Data Liberation Project; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Richmond has one of the highest rates of TSA complaints in the nation, per data from the transportation agency.

Why it matters: Richmond's tiny little two-terminal international airport may see a fraction of the traffic that bigger hubs do, but apparently we like to complain like we're one of the big guys.

State of play: Richmond ranked twelfth in the nation — out of 103 airports — for the most complaints per capita between January 2023 and January 2024.

By the numbers: In January, 21.35 complaints were reported per 100,000 passengers at RIC, compared with the national average of 16.98 complaints in January 2019.

  • That's a total of 513 complaints in that period.

Comparatively, Newark — the airport with the most complaints — logged 6,740, or 36.19 per 100,000.

  • Charlotte, which saw the fewest gripes, reported 1,976 or 7.76 per 100,000.

Zoom in: The analysis found that travelers grumbled the most about RIC's expedited passenger screening program (or PreCheck), registering 378 complaints from January 2023 through January 2024.

  • Other top complaints were over customer service (52), screening (28) and pat-downs (15).

Context: An analysis by the Data Liberation Project reveals that air passengers are reporting more complaints than they did before the pandemic.

  • The data shows a spike in complaints in early 2020 because there were more complaints relative to passenger volume, which had declined during the pandemic.

Yes, but: RIC is still an all-around great airport.

What they're saying: "TSA values customer feedback and encourages passengers to contact the agency if the level of service provided to them does not meet their expectations," the agency wrote in last month's Air Travel Consumer Report.

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