03 January 2006

Not-the-first-ever shittiness ranking of airlines...

...or in other words, I really need to rant about US Air and this is the place I've chosen to do it.

But first, the ranking:

Least shitty: American
Next-least: Continental
Shitty: United
Most shitty: US Air

I travel a lot and I've traveled most on these four airlines so I have some good info here. And just to qualify things for the people who don't know me: I'm intelligent, I'm not quick to judge things, and I'm generally a good passenger. These are valid opinions shared by lots of frequent travelers. And I'm giving them to you for free!

Here's what I know:

American is generally a good airline. They haven't gone bankrupt, they have good leg room on most flights, they're generally on time, they're generally nice people, they generally have good service, and their mileage program is sane. All my issues with them have been minor. The only problem is that they don't have great routes (for me) to everywhere. And the other only problem is that their website makes me re-enter my phone information whenever I want flight status info texted to me. Generally, they're my carrier of choice.

Thank you, American.

Again more positive than negative, but they're not as good as American. But they do apologize for their mistakes. And they will not, under any circumstances, let you transfer miles with them to anything else. Even if you only have 8,000 and that's not enough to do jack with. Don't get locked in to them.

A lot of people think United is ok. Those people all don't live in Chicago and/or don't fly United much and/or are already super-platinum-executive-elite-status with them. If you live in Chicago you know that they're incapable of flying on time, or making connections. If you don't fly them much, they might not have had the chance to go out of their way to treat you like an old dried-up useless cow. And if you're already super-platinum with them they'll treat you well, and you know that you're at the only elite level that actually has any rewards that are useful, and that they're the only carrier that goes to all the worldwide destinations you go to.

And they're bankrupt and getting out of all their bad earlier decisions by screwing employees and business partners, and they're not making money but they're still coming out of bankruptcy.

In other words, I suggest that you have some other less-expensive airline treat you like shit, instead.

US Air
Very much like United, except worse. Especially in Philadelphia, which is a major hub of theirs. Worse like:
1) Flights consistently scheduled for times that are known to be impossible
2) Service staff and airport staff that are very friendly but totally incapable of doing their jobs
3) They never, ever, under any circumstances update their sign displays or their website with flight information. Especially if a flight has been delayed. Especially.
4) They have no way to sign up for pages when flight status changes. Not that it would matter, given #3.
5) Their exit row seats on the smaller planes aren't any bigger, and it appears to be physically impossible to get the door open if, say, the seat is occupied.
6) Pricing schemes that will happily screw you if you don't book early enough, or if they think you're a business traveler, or if it happens to be January.
7) They'll happily make you wait at baggage claim for 90 minutes for your bag to arrive, and then have you discover that the bag is soaked, your clothes are wet, and your books are ruined. There will be no apology or explanation for said problem.

Ahh, we arrive at the source of the problem. But I feel better now!

Anyhow, fly American. Don't ever fly US Air. If you must, fly Continental or United. Beyond that, I don't know.


dcass said...

Many disagreements here. But one agreement!
I too am forced to travel a lot (logged over 70K miles in 2005) and have had the (unfortunate) pleasure in sampling many of the airlines.

Here are my top two and my low two:

1. America West - best service and airplanes hands down. They treat you like a king in first class and they have NEVER, EVER been late or lost any of my stuff. Only issue is that if you are not going from coast to coast, they may not be a relevant choice.

2. Southwest - CHEAP! take a late flight, lay down across three puffy seats, take a nap. Snack boxes are good, too.

2. American! - I can't believe that you liked them, weird. They've lost my stuff two out of three times and the seats are thimble sized, ew. I stopped giving them a chance once i went all sloppy for America West.

1 (the Shit Meister) - US Airways!!! that's right, you hit the nail on the head. These limp-dicked muthas can't do just about anything right. Nada, nothing. They do cool things like: make you check your carry-on then when you land and try to get the bag to make your next flight (which is in 10 seconds) they go"DURR, we put em through baggage claim." So you have to go get your bag from claim and then GO BACK THROUGH SECURITY. This has happened three times. And (this is really cool) they lose you bags "magically" frequently. I don't know how hard this is, but it must be crazy (maybe because of the 10 seconds between flights). All of the attendants are nice and the airplanes are ok. But, argh. They really frickin stink.

Ready for the Good News!?!?
That's right America West (my cuddlekins) and US Airways (the turd hat) have merged.

I can't wait until they fuck up the one good thing i have.


tormp said...

i suppose the first class experience may be nice in america west, though i have to say the constant prodding to purchase even trivial things in coach was a little aggravating ("seat belts can be purchased for $5.00, or whatever denomination greater than $5.00 you happen to have"). the lack of a non-beef meal option on my most recent flight was also a little irritating.

I also found the pride with which they always coupled the words "hot" and "beef" to be unsettling, though not specifically annoying. I don't remember what both meal options were, but they each featured the phrase "hot beef". ew.

also, they showed batman begins minus all of the whacked out psychedelia. what the fuck is that?

southwest is good, though i can't get people to stop talking to me while i'm waiting to board. everyone in the 'A' group is not my goddamned blood brother. and then those dirty 'B' and 'C' people won't stop staring at you.

for other airlines, i would generally say the carpet patterns are annoying and they let too many people that smell on board. if i have to sit beside people that smell, haven't the terrorists already won? they smell.

Matthew Softwater said...

Is there some secret to getting into the Southwest 'A' group? The few times I've flown with them I always end up in B or C and have to sit in the middle seat between two football players and three rows from my wife. Maybe I just don't get there early enough?

russ said...

Philly Airport sucks a nut. I've taken Continental through there, mostly, and it's right awful. Scheduling, mostly. Also the security line is re-effing-cock-ulous, but I figured out you can walk a concourse or two down and make it back quicker than standing in that friggin line.

America West had plugs, and it was also the first time I've spoken at length with someone on a plane, which wasn't as bad as I feared, but does leave you in the awkward place of not being able to _stop_ talking to the person four inches from you. Also, the reason I was on there was because to get to Philly from Cleveland at the last minute, they sent me to Chicago. Ick.

Drew said...

Continental has a Cleveland hub, and I usually fly them. No complaints, although they are definitely pretty bare-bones these days.

Back in August, I flew Continental round-trip to Chicago, but they cancelled my flight home due to weather (actually, the problem was in Newark, where the Chicago planes were coming from) so they sent me over to USAir to catch their flight.

Wow, what a bunch of bozos! I explained my predicament to the ticket agent, who was unbelievably rude, and then the flight crew boarded too many passengers, and had to eject some of the standby people.

Now, I wouldn't expect to be treated as fine as if I had actually paid USAir in the first place, but jeezy creezy. They had a chance to convert me from a Continental passenger to a USAir passenger, and they succeeded in doing the opposite. I'll walk to my destination before I ever give them money for a plane ticket.