America's Meanest Airlines: 2011

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  1. FirstClassQueen
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    FirstClassQueen Silver Member

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    America's Meanest Airlines: 2011

    By Hamooda Shami

    In last place: United Airlines
    JamesZ_Flickr/Flickr
    More from USNews.com
    More from Yahoo! Travel
    Last year was a good one for the airline industry, with U.S. airlines churning out the highest profits in more than a decade. With the exception of American Airlines, every major carrier turned in positive profits for the year.


    In the 2011 Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report released on April 4, quality is up as well.


    But that doesn't mean airlines deserve high-fives all around. Soaring baggage fees, widespread airfare increases and the elimination of free food on many flights were major factors in improving the bottom line. Not surprisingly, customers were not happy in 2010. According to a Business Insider study conducted last November, which uses data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, four of the major U.S. carriers made its list of the "18 Worst Companies in America." The year also saw PR nightmares for the industry, including discrimination against disabled and overweight passengers and the episode involving a JetBlue flight attendant (the now famous Steven Slater) hitting his breaking point. 2011 has already seen a pilot misplace his handgun and a flight attendant put a baby in an overhead bin -- hardly a good way to start the year.



    Meanest Major Carrier

    United


    United came in last place among all major airlines on our 2011 Meanest Airlines list with an AQR score of -1.31. United had the second-highest customer complaint rate (1.64 per 100,000 passengers) of all airlines in 2010, including the regional carriers.



    Worst regional carrier: American Eagle
    Photo: Scruffieb/Wikimedia Commons
    Meanest Regional Carrier

    American Eagle


    American Eagle earned last place among all regional airlines on our 2011 Meanest Airlines list with an AQR score of -2.82. The major contributing factors were that they had the most incidents of mishandled baggage (7.15 reports per 1,000 passengers) and the highest involuntary denied boardings rate (4.02 per 10,000 passengers) in 2010.



    Delta has the highest complaint rate
    Photo: Makaristos/Wikimedia Commons
    Most Complained About Airline

    Delta


    Delta had the highest consumer complaint rate (2.00 complaints per 100,000 passengers) of all the carriers surveyed for the 2011 Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report. Delta placed #5 among major airlines on our 2011 Meanest Airlines list with an AQR score of -1.22.



    Jet Blue: most likely to be unsafe
    Photo: Pylon757/Flickr
    Most Likely to be Unsafe

    JetBlue


    With only 17 documented incidents out of approximately 219,000 flights in 2010, the "least safe" major (minimum of 600 flights a day on average) airline is still very safe. Fortunately, commercial air travel in the United States these days is about as safe as it gets.



    Delta, US Airways and Continental all share hefty baggage charges
    Photo: jeremyfoo/Flickr
    Most Likely to Overcharge for Bags

    Delta / US Airways / Continental


    This worst culprit in this category depends on the type of baggage you're checking. Delta, US Airways and Continental all share a similar fee structure, with some variance.

    Domestic Baggage Fees
    1st Bag: $25 ($23 if checked online with Delta or Continental)
    2nd Bag: $35 ($32 if checked online with Delta or Continental)
    3rd Bag: $125 for Delta & US Airways; $100-$200 for Continental

    Overweight/Oversized Bags
    51-70 lbs: $90 for Delta & US Airways; $200 for Continental
    71-100 lbs: $175 for Delta & US Airways; Continental will not accept luggage heavier than 70 lbs as checked baggage
    Larger than 62 inches: $175 for Delta & US Airways; $100-$200 for Continental



    American Eagle is the most likely to bump you
    Photo: ColumbusCameraOp/Flickr
    Most Likely to Bump You

    American Eagle


    American Eagle had the highest rate of involuntary denied boardings in 2010, with a rate of 4.02 per 10,000 passengers. American Eagle was the worst overall airline on our 2011 Meanest Airlines list with an AQR score of -2.82.



    Comair has the worst on-time rate
    Photo: lifesabmovie/Flickr
    Most Likely to be Late

    Comair


    Comair was the tardiest airline in 2010. With only 73.1 percent of flights arriving on time, the airline had the worst on -time performance of all of the airlines surveyed for the 2011 Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report. Comair placed #3 among regional airlines on our 2011 Meanest Airlines list with an AQR score of -1.56.



    American Eagle had the most incidents of mishandled baggage in 2010
    Photo: abdallahh/Flickr
    Most Likely to Mishandle Your Bag

    American Eagle


    American Eagle had the most incidents of mishandled baggage in 2010, with 7.15 reports per 1,000 passengers. American Eagle was the worst overall airline on our 2011 Meanest Airlines list with an AQR score of -2.82.














     
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  2. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    Thank you. Glad to see Virgin America is nowhere on this list!
     
  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The report is mostly rubbish. They don't acknowledge is that the customer complaint section - roughly 20% of the score - has 50% of its value defined by on-time performance and baggage issues, two categories that are already rather significant in the stats.

    They also ignore the fact that the difference between 0.44 complaints per 100,000 passengers and 2.03 complaints per 100,000 passengers (the spread for mainline) is nearly meaningless.

    It is also a shame that the regional carriers are able to be accounted for separately from their parent organizations. I know they have to because there are some regional operators that have contracts for multiple marketing carriers, but it would be nice to see what the variances in experience are based on the big name;that would be more meaningful in the end.

    The stats are real but WAY too much value is being ascribed to minute variances that are not necessarily significant enough to reflect the reality of travel.

    Some more analysis here.
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    VX not being included means they're too small, not that they are good or bad.
     
  5. sdcarver
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    sdcarver Silver Member

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    I am surprised to not see Spirit Airlines on the list... :)

    sdcarver
     
  6. Wandering Aramean
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    They're too small; they aren't in the DoT stats that the list is based on.
     
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