Oh, what a snarky way to start the morning. Huffington Post has put together a survey of “America’s 11 Worst Airlines” based on the 2010 Airline Quality Ratings. The authors of the study do state that airline service has gotten better over the last year. Here’s my take on the listings:
#11, US Airways: I avoid them like the plague, mostly because I don’t fly Star Alliance. Last time I flew them, I did manage to wrangle a first class upgrade – but no drinks. Seems a US Airways flight went “dry” because someone got a PAX drunk and they got a DUI. Who the hell can fly US Airways and NOT drink?
#10, American Airlines: Wow. They’re only #10 on the list? I have so many horror stories from AA. Like being trapped next to a 600 pound passenger on an MD80 in the exit row. If that plane had gone down, we wouldn’t have been able to push his fat ass out the window exit – he literally would not have fit! I had to spend my time standing in the back of the plane, because he took up too much of my seat. American’s response? NOTHING. Literally – they refused to respond. Their customer service has to be the absolute WORST of any airline.
#9, ExpressJet: Nothing really to say about them. A regional carrier, so they have that against them. They tried to grow to do regional and stand-alone, but it was the wrong time.
#8: Alaska Airlines: Now I TOTALLY disagree with this one. Of all airlines I have EVER flown, Alaska has to be my favorite. Their dedication to passengers is second to none. Something is up with this study – oh well!
#7: Mesa: Wow. Cutthroat yes (they were the ones that basically put Aloha out of business). But with sleepy, overworked pilots. Besides – who wants to travel Hawaii (their subsidiary “go!” is all-Hawaiian) in tiny regional jets?
#6: United Airlines: I started avoiding them a while ago because of customer service. Due to equipment malfunction once, Alaska Airlines put me on a UAL flight back home. Standing near the gate, I was probably five feet from a gate agent, talking to flight crew. No small talk between these people – it was “These customers make me crazy”, “I hate these people”, blah blah blah. They literally bad-mouthed the people they were flying for about 20 minutes, then put on fake smiles and boarded us. And this wasn’t in a small, rinkydink airport – this was SFO. Yeah, UAL deserves to be on this list – but WAY higher up in the listings.
#5, Sky West: “I don’t care how we do it on other airlines. This is how we do it on MINE.” Yeah, that cheery, chipper attitude was just the tip of the iceberg when I flew them last, as a Delta Connection customer. The flight attendants actually went through each and every seatback pocket and if they found ANYTHING of yours in it, they made you move it. Didn’t matter – magazine, iPod, iron lung. “This doesn’t go here. Move it to your own luggage or put it away elsewhere!” was the nasty decree. Yeah, never again.
#4, Delta Airlines: I have mixed feelings about Delta. The old Northwest is now gone, forever integrated into Delta. And when that was gone, so was a lot of the reason to fly them. I remember one flight leaving PDX. As we were taxiing and the video was going, some woman got up, got her bag down, and started unpacking and repacking it. The flight attendants just walked past her, not saying a thing. At least the woman sat down before we took off. On another flight, HALF of the airplane electrical just went out (lights, individual reading lights, television displays). The flight attendants said it was “normal”. WTF? Plus, with Delta’s call center outsourced to India (which it was the two times I called about four years ago), screw that! The last Delta flight I took, their systems were so screwed up that they gave us free WiFi. Not because they were nice, but because they somehow couldn’t charge for it due to a glitch.
#3, Comair: Flew them just recently. Eeh. Cabin crews could use an attitude adjustment. I need to fly them more to make more of an opinion.
#2, Atlantic SouthEast Airlines: Never flown them, so no opinion.
#1, American Eagle: Let’s just sum this up with one experience I had a few weeks ago. Gate agent: “You’re going to have to move row 4 to the back for weight and balance”. Flight attendant, “Uh, yeah”. Gate agent: “Do you need me to help?”. Flight attendant: “Don’t worry about it”. Gate agent left. Flight attendant read her magazine some more. When given word, she shut the cabin door. Being in row 3, I heard the whole thing, and saw row 4 was ready to move. Flight attendant did not even react; she played the audio of the safety briefing, did her walk through, and sat down. Row 4 stayed where they were and were never moved. Thank goodness we had no issues on the flight. But being THAT nonchalant about people’s safety? Yeah, that’s a load of crap!