10 Most-Complained-About Airlines

Sunday, August 28, 2011


#10 Skywest Airlines

.77 complaints per 100,000 passengers

The largest independently owned regional airline boasts a low complaint rate even though it flew almost 12 million passengers over the first six months of 2011.

#9 Atlantic Southeast Airlines

.96 complaints per 100,000 passengers

Atlantic Southeast will merge with ExpressJet later this year. Ideally, the newly formed airline will have a Twitter presence, because this airline, which operates close to 1,000 flights every day in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, does not.

#8 ExpressJet Airlines

1.01 complaints per 100,000 passengers

Express Jet has slipped from a rate of .70 last year, and its Twitter presence is an anemic placeholder. Let’s hope that when it merges with Atlantic Southeast later this year, a more dynamic social media presence will be part of the business plan.

#7 JetBlue Airways

1.07 complaints per 100,000 passengers

When JetBlue got on the Twitter bandwagon in the spring of 2007—one of the first big brands to jump in—its business plan was that it wanted to help customers. And according to the DOT, there are enough complaints to keep its customer-service folks busy.

#6 Delta Airlines

1.27 complaints per 100,000 passengers

Hands down, Delta holds the title of most improved. A year ago, it was ranked the worst airline for complaints in virtually every category. Now that the bumpy merger with Northwest has emerged from the turbulence, Delta has cut its complaint rate nearly in half.

#5 American Airlines

1.50 complaints per 100,000 passengers

American logged 636 complaints from January to June, 2011. With nearly a quarter of a million Twitter followers, though, the airline has upped its game to try and handle problems before they become complaints.

#4 American Eagle Airlines

1.67 complaints per 100,000 passengers

The country’s largest regional carrier reported the highest rates of flight cancellations and mishandled baggage in June, 2011, which certainly played a part in its shocking jump from a respectable complaint rate of .87 over the same period in 2010 to a whopping 1.67 this year.

#3 Continental Airlines

1.70 complaints per 100,000 passengers

Flight problems and customer service issues are the bane of Continental, and its complaint rate edged up from 2010.

#2 US Airways

1.73 complaints per 100,000 passengers

Flight issues and customer service remain major problems for this carrier. It’s routinely at the top of the barrel when it comes to complaints, despite the fact that it carries less than half the passengers that Southwest does.

#1 United Airlines

2.01 complaints per 100,000 passengers

United didn’t fare well last year either—coming in at No. 2—but this year it grabs the title of worst airline for passenger complaints.

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