"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