Airline or Airport?

Airline or Airport…Who is responsible?

You might have questions about your travel experience. We’re here to help clarify who is responsible. The Airline or the Airport?

Among other things, the airlines are responsible for:

  • They sell tickets and determine the price of airfare.
  • They fly airplanes.
  • They cancel and delay flights.
  • They update the flight schedules displayed on screens at airports.
  • They staff the ticket counters and gates.
  • They park and push back airplanes at the terminal.
  • They load and unload your baggage.
  • They are responsible for lost or damaged baggage.
  • They de-ice airplanes during winter weather.
  • They maintain and repair airplanes.
  • They decide which routes will serve their network and which cities will get air service.

The Airport operates and maintains the physical facility on the ground: the terminal, runways, taxiways, etc.…and the airport leases space to the airlines. Airport leases do not include airline performance standards because airlines won’t agree to them and the airlines hold all the cards in today’s landscape. The bottom line is airlines are responsible for how they conduct their business at the airport and in the air.

Why tell you all this? Because often people think the airport is responsible for airline operations and customer service. Based on experience we know airline employees sometimes tell customers things like: “Ladies and gentleman, the airport de-icing crew is short staffed so we’re going to be delayed.” A more accurate statement would be: “Our de-icing crew is short staffed so we’re going to be delayed.”

From now on, when you hear statements like that, you’ll be the passenger who knows what’s really happening!

Even though the airport doesn’t control airline operations we (the airport) do try to exert influence. When we see poor performance, we bring it to the airline’s attention. We ask airline managers if there is something the airport can do to help. We clearly make the point that no one looks good when avoidable problems occur.

Having said all this, here’s a final thought…

Ultimately, if you want your comments to make a difference, please reach out directly to the responsible airline. If enough customers do, it can get the airline’s attention. And please know this: if the issue at hand really is an airport problem, we’ll be the first to say so and work diligently to correct the problem.

Here’s contact information for the airlines that serve Rochester International Airport:

American Airlines logo




American Customer Service

American Twitter

American Facebook

Delta Skyteam logo




Delta Customer Service

Delta Twitter

Delta Facebook




United Customer Service

United Twitter

United Facebook