What's The Worst Airline You've Ever Flown And Why?


Photo: Kossy@FINEDAYS [Flickr]

Today, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year in the United States. And if you've ever flown commercial airlines, then you've probably got a horror story or two.

So, let me ask you this question: what is the worst airline you've ever flown and why?

I've flown pretty much all major carriers (both domestic and international) and there's only one airline I'll never ever fly again but that's another story. I want to hear yours.


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I haven't throughly read through the whole list but I'm pretty sure it's not here. Qantas Australia. The foods GREAT but the service is totally cr@p. I remember when a handicapped person was put next to me and she was flying unattended and some hissy bumhole told me that it was officially my job to look after this lady on a flight to London from Perth! No, I didn't get any say. I tried to entertain her by painting her nails with the little tub of nail polish I had, until Hissy Bumhole came along. Passengers 10 rows infront and behind of me were either reading, sleeping or playing. None of them seemed to be angry at me for letting the odour of nail polish out.
"Passengers are COMPLAINING about the smell of the nail polish. Put it away." So what? Can the pilots effing smell it? Never again
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My fiance and I flew from San Jose to Las Vegas last summer on United. We were 'lucky enough' to secure a seat in first class at the last minute.

The tray tables had adverts for Verizon on them. The arm rests were cracked, and one overhead bin was missing its latch. This was a little weird and disturbing... but just a little.

As we were about to push back from the gate, a ground crew member boarded the plane holding a red button, about the size of a keyboard key. He asked the flight attendant if he knew where the button was supposed to go. I turned to my fiance and said 'oh, that's the button that holds the wings on'. The crew member walked into the cockpit and the pilot, the flight attendant and the ground crew were all looking for where this button went, opening each overhead compartment and scanning each seat and call button. After five minutes of intense searching, the ground crew member gave up and left the plane, leaving the rest of us confused and a little freaked out.

If I know that the flight and ground crew doesn't know where a button goes and proceeds to search the cabin with passengers seated, my confidence is shot and I will never fly the airline again.
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Here's my American Airlines story.

Flew from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to Boston, MA (MA) with a stopover in New York, NY (JFK). Flight from LAX to JFK was uneventful, but the flight to BOS was delayed. At first, they said it was something having to do with equipment, but I found out later that our crew didn't have enough time on the ground between flights.

Eventually, our flight was canceled, but we were told that American had arranged to have us take the Delta Shuttle to Boston. However, we had to go downstairs, get our bags, get on a shuttle bus and go to Laguardia airport to get that plane. OK, a pain, but what can you do?

We all head down to the baggage claim, and wait for what seemed like another 1/2 hour or so. The bags come out and ... they're not ours, they're from another flight ... the bags go back to wherever they came from, we wait around for another 15 minutes (at least), and finally get our bags. Then, it's out to the shuttle for the trip to the Delta Terminal at Laguardia.

We get to the Delta Terminal at Laguardia and are told that the they never heard of us, were never contacted by American, and the flight (the last flight of the day) is gone anyway. There is, however, one more flight out of Laguardia, on Northwest, out of another terminal. The Delta rep said he would call Northwest and tell them we were on our way there and call for a shuttle bus, but he couldn't guarantee that the shuttle would get us to the Northwest terminal in time to make the flight, so he recommended we share cabs and later try to get our money back from American. Which is what most of us did, and we made the Northwest flight and finally got to Boston.

I suppose it's possible that the Delta reps lied to us and had been contacted by American but didn't hold our flight, but I still blame American for taking so long to cancel the flight and putting us in that situation in the first place.
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Ansett. Rickety old planes, rude and obnoxious staff, no wonder they went broke.

Virgin also ranks up there, canceling flights without sufficient notice, cramped seating, all topped off by a flight attendant who wouldn't let a disabled man move to an empty seat so that he could stretch his crippled leg.
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The absolute worst is American. I have flown it twice and both times I had 5+ hour delays on flights that were only supposed to be 3 hours total. One time they did not even offer anything to the people waiting. The second time all the passengers received $25 off their next flight with American.

The best is Virgin America. Never once had a delay and actually have left early before. Decent sized seats and in-flight personal entertainment. Plus Google maps as you fly which is awesome.
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