Columns / Discourse / May 18, 2011

Did You Know: Friendly skies

As the term winds down, everyone is getting ready to get their summers started! However, before you get on that plane to fly to another city, state or country (or world?), take a look at these not-so-nice airlines and think twice before paying them your money to fly you out of here.

1. United seems like a decent flight with ok ay prices. However, if you don’t like to complain, better skip this one. They’ve been ranked as the meanest major carrier for 2011, with an Airline Quality Rating (AQR) score of -1.31. In 2010 they had a customer complaint rate of 1.64 per 100,000 passengers, the second highest among all the airlines.

2. Now if you do like to complain, you can join all the others that complain about Delta. No, not the sorority, the airline. They had the highest consumer complaint rate of all the carriers that were surveyed, with an AQR score of -1.22.

3. So now to the important stuff. The stuff that actually affects your wallet—check-in baggage. Delta, US Airways and Continental have been found to have similar fees when checking in baggage, though it always depends on the type of baggage you’re checking. Domestic baggage fees go from $25 for the first bag (or $23 if checked online with Delta or Continental) to $125 for the third bag, for Delta and US Airways. Checking in a third bag for Continental is from $100 to around $200. The overweight limit on oversized bags are even worse. Going from 51 to 70 pounds over costs $90 for Delta and US Airways, but Continental takes away $200 in order to make your wallet feel lighter in response to making their plane feel heavier.

4. If you hate waiting for late planes, there’s another airline to skip. Comair had only 73.1 percent of their flights arriving on time in 2010. So far in 2011, it’s not fairing much better. They’ve been ranked as the worst punctual performance of all the airlines surveyed for the 2011 Airline Quality Rating report. They placed 3rd with an AQR score of -1.56.

5. The worst airline would be American Eagle with an AQR score of -2.82. The biggest contributing factors were that they had 7.15 reports of mishandled baggage out of 1,000 passengers and 4.02 involuntary denied boarding rates per 10,000, the highest of all the other airlines.

So from these, do a little more research into finding which airline is trustworthy and worth your time and money. Happy flying!

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