Survey ranks United as worst domestic airline
Virgin America had the highest ranking in the annual report, which takes stock of customer complaints, mishandled baggage and on-time arrival.
The annual Airline Quality Rating report, out this week, shows that airlines are doing a pretty good job keeping customers happy, caring for baggage and arriving on time. In fact, the industry got its second-highest quality rating in 23 years, UPI reports.
Not every airline is flying high, however. The survey handed United the title of worst domestic carrier after United flubbed every one of its categories, falling in the ratings for mishandled baggage, customer complaints and on-time arrival.
At the other end of the spectrum is Virgin America, which won kudos across the board for its performance in the various categories.
The report said that American Eagle had the largest improvement in overall score from 2011 to 2012, while United and SkyWest had the largest declines.The report is compiled by professors at Purdue University and Wichita State University.
Here's how the report ranked the airlines, from best to worst:
1. Virgin America
2. JetBlue (JBLU)
4. Delta (DAL)
6. Alaska Air (ALK)
8. Southwest (LUV)
9. US Airways (LCC)
11. American Eagle
Surly and crotchety flight attendants from practically the Wright Bros era, dirty airplanes, bad in-flight service, etc. The reasons go on and on.
To be named the worst behind the other laggards on the list is really an accomplishment. Congrats, Untied Airlines!
Recently flew United to Hawaii. Wife, 2 kids and myself. On every flight (4 total) seating assignments were changed after our online check-in so that the four of us were seperated. According to United, my kids, 10 and 7, were supposed to sit apart from their parents. When questioned about it at the gate, the agents offered no help, so when we got on board the attendents had to ask other passengers to move so we could have 1 parent with one child. My wife and I didn't sit together on any of the flights.
On the flight back from Maui the same thing happened to a family with a 2 year old daughter - she was supposed to sit by herself, away from mom and dad on a 6 hour flight back to the mainland.
Here's the most absurd thing, however. Upon arriving at SFO we discovered there was another flight leaving for Denver 90 minutes before the flight we were booked on. We asked the gate agent if there was room available on the earlier flight, we were told there was plenty, and when we asked if we could change our flight, we were told it would be $100.00 for each seat!!! We declined and made it clear to the agent that this was a "stupid" policy. I thought the idea was to fill the seats.
So, 90 minutes later, boarding our flight to Denver, United was turning away passengers on stand-by because there wasn't enough seating. As I said - stupid policy. Hey United - your attempt to bend me over and suck more money from my wallet actually cost your airline. Morons.
I will never give United the satisfaction of having me as a paying customer again.
I had my worst flight experience EVER years ago with Virgin Atlantic out of the 100+ flights I've taken in my life. Their flight landed late so I missed my connection, they lost my luggage in the lost luggage room (ironic, isn't it), etc. I wrote a letter to corporate headquarters voicing my displeasure and they basically called me a liar (they said the flight arrived on time which is kind of funny since I even remembered the pilot announcing that we would be arriving late) and told me in pleasant corporate terms to go pound sand. If only they had apologized I would have been fine with that (haven't there been studies done on how just apologizing actually pays off financially?) but their response really pissed me off so I wrote my Congressman and the various government agencies regulating airlines with my tale of woe and waited. My Congressman responded and said they were looking into it and not too long after I got a check in the mail from Virgin Atlantic refunding my ticket but still no apology.
This round: Airlines -1, Average Joe +1
I really disagree with the ratings for UNited Airlines by you evaluators. I have flown with United for the last 22 years or so and not once have I had a problem with their food, service or flights. There are many positive things to measure this airlines by without the media critics poor anaysis of the performance of this Company, UA!
I have found that United has some very good operational methods that appeal to me each time I fly.
I have traveled many places with United, both safely and on time. So I must say the employees are one of the best groups of people of any airline. Well-trained and efficient.
Whoever did this survey needs to do a better job of research on this airline.
John Earl Brammer
One more thing to say is that their pilots are the very best- trained in the world of flying in the last
thirty years. I have no doubts or fears for safety when flying with United Airlines.
John Earl Brammer
I'm sorry and maybe "OLD" but PAN -AM (my first flight from California to Hawaii was my first memory of flying and for a child they did a lot to make memorable experiences.) I again got to fly PAN-AM from JFK (New York) to Athens, Greece. Home sick but our Government sent me there. One more time I got to fly Pan-AM from Athens, Greece back to JFK. That Airline soon was no longer. They have tried a couple of times to come back out but it won't happen. Airlines are buying Airlines. I haven't flown (last carrier was Southwest Airlines) since 1997. Had a bad experience. Brought it to the attention of the company (back in those days you wrote a letter.) No response. So I vowed back in 1997 NEVER TO FLY AGAIN and I haven't. I tell people to take a bus or take a train and SEE AMERICA. Plan for the travel and have fun but if you need to get home in an emergency, Fly but get ready for inconviences for the convient travel.
I have flown on many different airlines in addition to United. Singapore, JAL, ANA, etc. I just prefer the good service and promptness that United has provided me. I have been to 42 different countries, so I want to say that there are good and bad examples. Your evaluation of United is way off course....period!
Thanks for the reply.
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