"People and your experts are willing to complain about service levels but the reality is customers will choose a flight exclusively by price and will book away to save a dollar. This dynamic controls in an industry where the cost of entry into the business is less than the cost of operation. Service will decline because there is always someone who will see a chance at making money by entering the industry (with lower paid entry level employees and below market lease deals from aircraft manufacturers) and undercutting existing airlines. The 'on time' and 'lost bags' numbers are the fault of the government infrastructure (air traffic control, airport capacity etc.) and route structure (point to point vs. connections around the world). Of course Hawaiian and some others has the lowest number of lost bags. They have very few connections and bags get lost because of missed connections most of the time. Get someone on the program who knows the mechanics of the industry if you are serious about reporting on the problems." -- Charles G.
"Very disappointing! There is no customer service on Delta - talking to someone in India who has to get permission from someone in the U.S. and waiting on the phone for over an hour is NOT customer service." -- Dori H., Florida
"I have over two million miles of air travel. My last air travel experience with US Air, last week, was like all the rest. I observed and was subject to dealing with airline employees who are clearly incompetent and totally disengaged (= rude and mean), their employees intentionally withhold or misrepresent information regarding the status of flights plus planes are dirty and run down. I don’t have an ounce of sympathy for their lack of success and what is sure to be their demise. They deserve everything that they get." -- Tom D., Arizona
"First, I'm an airline employee. The airlines are in the shape they are in for many reasons.
1) Bad management. The airlines with the most complaints, i.e.: United, have horrible management and care only about the numbers. The airlines that have 'happy' customers have content employees, i.e.: Southwest, Continental. Management makes all the difference.
2) Expectations. Everyone wants everything for nothing.
Low prices, comfort, food, no middle seats etc., at this point the fares are so low to many areas, you're lucky not to be sitting on a bench. You get what you pay for. That woman whos going to congress says that people are willing to pay more for a better run airline, WRONG. Of course not, price is everything in the end... and lets get the goverment involved? See IRS for examples.
3) Too many planes in too little space. Lots of small jets have made it close to impossible to have ontime flights to large airports, i.e.: ORD/Atlanta/SFO. A single cloud at OHARA and you've got a 2 hour ATC delays -- happens almost every day.
4) Management. Did I mention this already? It makes all the difference. You can have a well run airline with content employees and content passengers (most of the time) but it all comes down to their priorities and vision. Most care only about the numbers, i.e.: price per mile/per passenger, etc." -- Devin S.
"My last two trips were to Frankfurt, Germany, and San Antonio, Texas. Traveling Business/First Class to Europe is NOT what it used to be; customer service is only okay. Traveling to San Antonio economy was awful. My bags were lost and customer service was almost non-existant." -- Moses E., Washington
"My wife and I recently travelled from Phoenix to Hawaii and back on Hawaiian Airlines. Perfection as usual as indicated by their top ratings. On time flights, wonderful staff and crews, great food. They should give lesssons to the other losers. The only glitch was upon returning to Phoenix (30 minutes early) our gate was occupied by a Jet Blue plane. We still pulled in on time." -- Bob S., Arizona
"Horrible, I spent 12.5 hours waiting for a Continental flight that was delayed in 15/30 minute increments. I fly quite a bit and it seems like things just keep getting worse. Unfortunately I don't have much say in the airlines that my company books my flights on. The flight before I had over $500 worth of electronics stolen from my checked bag and AirTran wouldn't do anything about it." -- Kevin F., Indiana
"I traveled a bit right through the end of '06, primarily on American. While they have some rough spots, I actually noticed a large improvement in care over the past three years. I mean measurable improvement. I haven't had a nightmare flight in a few years. I connect always through DFW or O'Hare, and have had little problem. And I'm talking in the 100K+ miles a year level. But I pick this airline for that reason. Every time I have tried alternatives, except Continental (another good one) I have been disappointed. I have never had a good experience on Southwest, the cattle car of airlines. Last time there the equipment was 5 hours late arriving so departure about as late. This with no weather problems. Where can these airlines improve (even my favorite, American)? Better information to their line personnel at times of bad weather, etc. It is so frustrating that when you do have a delay due to weather, etc., the information on what is going on is very slow to come out, but SOMEBODY knew it earlier. Yet the paying customer is forced to stand at the gate waiting for some info. Moral: fly with a real airline that doesn't have one foot in the grave." -- George C.
"I am an airline pilot employed by the same major carrier for the last 28 years. My wages have been reduced and I am making less than I did 15 years ago while working more. Our benefits have been reduced, and my pension has been terminated; I retire this year. We recently emerged from bankruptcy and our senior managers have had major increases in compensation; the CEO received $40 million in 2006. I wonder where the problem is??" -- Allan W., New York
"My last experience flying was on Southwest Airlines from Dallas to Las Vegas. It was the worst I have ever seen with Southwest. The ticket girl was rude in Dallas and more interested in playing with the baggage handler who came up to load luggage on the cart at the main counter than she was in helping me. After I got on the crowded plane and was able to get a seat, I noticed 4 people a couple of rows back who were loud and quite happy to be with each other. I marked it off to the excitement of going to Vegas. After we got in the air they were the first to get alcoholic drinks and continued to drink and party. They were about 2 rows back from where I was sitting and I heard one of them tell the lady behind me that they were using their Southwest benefits of flying for free and drinking and having fun. After all they are the LOVE AIRLINE. Well, they didn't show much love to me or the other customers. The planes wouldn't be so crowded and maybe could have more leg room if they didn't let their employees fly for free. I have flown Southwest for several years and the quality for their customer care has really gone down hill. The employees seem unorganized, uninterested and unconcerned for the customers. I WILL NOT FLY SOUTHWEST AGAIN. Guess what? When I got to Vegas I found that my luggage didn't. They had to deliver it to my hotel and wanted to charge me for the delivery. I told them I didn't think I should have to pay for the delivery, after all they are supposed to be the LOVE AIRLINES." -- Margie C., Texas
"What do you expect, you get what you pay for." -- Patrick S., Washington
"Horrible, I travel quite a bit on business and I believe the airline industry has forgotten the term 'customer service.' Overbooking flights, allowing unruly passengers (adults and children) make the flight miserable for anyone in the cabin (first class not excluded) and minimalist services make flying the necessary evil that I am reducing at every possible turn. It used to be a time for private productivity – now it’s a test of tolerance. Requiring the cabin staff to control the environment to a reasonable level shouldn’t be an optional item." -- Donna C., Florida
"The whole flying experience has reached a nearly un-bearable level, I'll do anything else than fly if possible!" -- Alan A., Florida
"My last experience wasn't horrible, but I feel that with all the competition out there - and as customer satisfaction be the top priority of any business - Aer Lingus dropped the ball on taking care of me last week on a trip to Dublin out of JFK. I arrived 5 minutes after my fight's gate closed and the rep said it was too bad - although I felt he really could've made the effort to take me to my half booked flight (as I found out later from another rep), in the near empty terminal. OK, I figured, I'll fly standby the next flight. When I tried to make the necessary arrangments on the next flight, the ticket agents both looked at each other, excused themselves, and acted like they were discussing something important. When they returned, they told me that I would have to pay an extra fee for the flight change and an additional difference charge cost for the next flight, which they assured me was fully booked (even though the terminal was still empty). In the last 20 years of business travel I have never heard of these extras; normally they would just try to get you on the next flight no trouble, unless the flight was fully booked. So I unwillingly paid these extras on the next flight which was half empty because I had to. Needless to say, I felt swindled and took advantage of. I will never book a flight with Aer Lingus again." -- John H., New York
"My last experience was with Southwest, who by the way has been letting their service head south for a while. It used to be a fun airline to travel, now it’s nothing more than a packed city bus with wings. During my trip to Philadelphia, Southwest lost my luggage. Although we had arrived at the airport a couple of hours prior to take off, we dropped off my luggage at the curbside check-in as the line was significantly shorter than the line for checking in within the airport. Figuring everything was fine, my wife and I boarded the plane. Arriving in Philadelphia we learned that our luggage didn’t make it onto the plane. We were told that the curbside check in offered no guarantee that the luggage would be loaded on the plane. There were no signs indicating such at either location, nor did the attendant inform any of the passengers of this. To add insult to injury Southwest charged us to bring the luggage to our hotel. A complaint was filed with the BBB asking only that the airline warn passengers that if they drop off their bags at the curb side check-in that there is only a slim chance that it would make it on board. Southwest refused our request." -- Jerry M.
"My last flight Ft Myers to Atlantic City with Spirit Airlines was the usual, very pleasant. We were delayed leaving due to the plane arriving late, but we arrived on time at our destination. Everyone was pleasant and friendly. Frankly, if weather is a factor, I appreciate the honesty and safety the airlines take when delays are made, even if cancellations and delays are not announced until the last minute. I would rather the airlines take my safety in concern over their cash register. Thank you to all the airlines for always taking consideration of the passenger safety first." -- Larry S.
"My wife and I were traveling to Charlotte, North Carolina on American Flight 2450. While we were waiting for our flight time (2:25 p.m.), the flight was canceled due to weather in Dallas/Ft. Worth. We knew that the flight had been changed to 3:00. There was no departure/arrival screens in the area and so we did not know when the flight was canceled and removed from the screen. No one from the airlines came to the designated departure gate to inform us the flight had been canceled. By word of mouth, we learned the airlines was attempting to get some passengers on flights that were going to depart to the area. Word of mouth also had it that they were going to attempt to reroute passengers going to other areas. Since we had no real need to go to Dallas, except that the American hub is located there, we just wanted to get on a flight bypassing the weather and go to North Carolina. After being jerked around for five hours, we finally got to speak to an airlines agent who was able to get us a flight with another airline on the next day. I will say that they at least took care of our baggage. They sure didn't take care of us! Do you think we had a nice day?" -- R. McIntyre
"I departed from Fort Myers Fla. on 3/28. My bag was overweight, so US Airways collected $80.00 additional dollars from me. Upon my arrival to Richmond (RIC) they managed to lose my luggage. It later arrived to my door at midnight. I'm currently trying to get a refund of my $80.00. If they can't deliver my bags on time, I should not have to pay extra for my overweight luggage." -- Denise H.
"Two weeks ago I returned from a Lake Tahoe ski vacation via United. There were three legs to the trip: Reno to Denver to Chicago to Rochester, NY. Flights were on time, seat assignments were excellent considering my lack of frequent flier status and checked skiis made it to Rochester despite tight connection in Chicago. Also, Rochester airport was much more efficient/less costly parking than my usual airport Syracuse. It was a great trip. United and Continental are class acts!" -- Ron D., New York
"My last experience was awful! I live in Connecticut and work in Chicago and commute every other week. My 6:45 a.m. from LaGuardia was delayed three hours last week as we sat on the tarmac because the pilot overslept and got stuck in traffic. By the time he got to the flight, there was no crew to push the plane out, followed by being placed ninth in the departure pattern. If I have to get up at 4:30 am to catch a flight, surely the pilot can." -- Steve S., Connecticut
"My last flying experience was on Midwest Airlines from Ft. Meyers to Milwaukee and, as usual, was flawless and pleasant." -- Scot F., Wisconsin
"My last airline experience was Thanksgiving 2005 on American Airlines. I started in Austin, Texas with reservations on United Airlines and was delayed for several hours and transferred to American. Once in Chicago, we spent the entire night on the plane because there were no gate personnel. It was so bad, I have not wanted to fly since. After 14 years, I gave up a job as a bank examiner where I flew every week. I could not stand it anymore! --June G., Texas
"My last flight was with Southwest Airlines, Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. Two stops, no seat assignment, cramped seating ... it was horrible, like a cattle car. You might save a few bucks with Southwest, but it's not worth the inconvenience or discomfort. I'll pay a little more for better service, assigned seating and a faster trip." -- Jim N., Nevada
"I got home from Hawaii last night. United customer service on the phone twice told me I was confirmed on flights I wasn't confirmed on. One agent repeatedly tried to book me on flights that left before my connecting flight arrived. All agents were outsourced and out of country, not well trained. Even agents in the airport were mostly unwilling to help. They told all the passengers to sit and wait for the delayed flights out of Denver to be called or cancelled. My flight was over 4 hours delayed, but luckily it left. I'd say 85% of United personnel were unhelpful." -- Diane A., Colorado
"I arrived early before my 11am flight - the flight was delayed 2 hours and the 9am flight had not left yet. They put me on stand-by for the 9am flight which left at 11:30am. They assured me that my bags would go with me. Well needless to say they did not show up with me. After waiting in a long 'lost bag' line with only one attendant and literally 36 people on line, I was told the bags would be on the my original flight which now was scheduled 2pm. They told me they would deliver my bags to me later in the day. My bags were not on the 2pm flight. They told then me it would be put on the 5:30pm flight and of course that flight was cancelled. I got my bags the next day at 6pm. Disorganized, under staffed, indifferent. Something has to change." -- Mike D., Illinois
"My last airline experience was Thanksgiving 2005 on American Airlines. I started in Austin, TX with reservations on United and delayed for several hours and transferred to American. Once in Chicago, we spent the entire night on the plane because there were no gate personnel. It was so bad, I have not wanted to fly since! After 14 years, I gave up a job as a bank examiner where I flew every week. I could not stand it anymore!" -- June G., Texas
"My last flying experience was on Midwest Airlines from Ft. Myers to Milwaukee and, as usual, was flawless and pleasant." -- Scot F., Milwaukee
"I flew over 500,000 frequent flyer miles in 2006 to Asia, Australia, and Europe. I just flew to London this week on Delta Preferred Business Class and it had to be the absolute worst experience and service for the money. I have to fly home tomorrow on a Delta flight and I am already dreading the flight. The seats are terrible, just terrible. I have to say that I will be flying to London a good bit this year and I will go out of my way to avoid flying Delta until they change the seats and the overall service. It is actually more convenient, but not worth price and discomfort. Sad, I am a million-miler on Delta from years gone by and remember when they set the standard in service. These apparently are days gone by for Delta. It truly is sad." --Lamar J., Alabama
"I have been traveling for business since 1980 and have millions of miles logged in. The problem is that people want to pay at a rate consistent with bus travel but have all of the 'good old days' benefits of air travel. Sorry, you get what you pay for. I find air travel consistent with the 'bargain' that it is. I prefer to bring my own meal on since airline food was always bad -- sound like bringing a sandwich on the bus? Recent delays on Jet Blue are the result of poor planning. For the most part, however, air travel should only be for distances longer than a five hour drive. We want to be safe but we don’t want inconvenience. Sorry, they do not go together. We want 'cheap' but we want a high level of 'service' -- sorry they don’t go together in anything else so why do we expect it in air travel. Get real." -- Fred A., California