While air travel is an attractive way to get from one point to another quickly, an unpleasant flight is sometimes enough to make you look for alternative methods of travel. If you've had a troubling experience, you owe it to yourself to voice your displeasure to the airline in writing. By incorporating several elements into your complaint letter, you increase the odds it will reach the powers that be and give you the satisfaction you seek.

1. Locate the contact information for the customer service department of the airline

Locate the contact information for the customer service department of the airline. Visit the airline's website, and look for the "Contact us" link. You should be able to find the street address or post office box number, city, state and ZIP code where you can mail your complaint. Alternatively, call the airline to get the name and address of a contact person to whom you can address your complaint letter.

As a second step, use the Department of Transportation's air travel complaint form. Below is a list of links to top U.S. Domestic Airlines:

1. Compile your flight information.

Compile your flight information. Include the flight number, date, time and beginning and ending destinations in your letter, so the airline has all the data it needs to investigate your complaint. Place this information in your letter in bold type after the address and before the salutation or greeting.

2. Use plain paper or personal letterhead for your complaint letter

Use plain paper or personal letterhead for your complaint letter. Choose business-sized paper, and type your complaint into the word processing program of your computer. Save the file so you can work with the letter to get it exactly the way you want it before printing a final copy.

3. Describe in detail the problem you had on the flight

Describe in detail the problem you had on the flight. Whether your experience included a rude flight attendant, nonworking toilets on the plane or significant delays for no apparent reason, relay that to the airline in clear, concise terms in your letter. Include the names and positions of any airline employees who played a part in your situation.

4. Ask for the specific action to remedy your problem

Ask for the specific action you'd like to see from the airline to remedy your problem or address your complaint. If you'd like to be reimbursed for the cost of lost luggage and possessions, included an itemized list of the items and their replacement costs. If you'd like to receive credit toward a flight in the future, ask for it outright.

5. Include your contact information

Include your contact information, such as your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. Indicate the best hours and methods for the airline representative to use to reach you.

Things You Will Need
  • Contact information for the airline

  • Flight information

  • Plain paper or personal letterhead

Maintain a businesslike tone throughout your complaint letter. Keep a copy of your complaint letter for future reference. Call to follow up on your complaint if you've not received a response within two weeks. Ensure that you include sufficient postage for your letter to reach its destination.

Avoid using cutesy stationery when sending a complaint letter. Never make threats in a complaint letter.