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Posted by
6877 posts

I take TripAdvisor with (many) grinds of salt...it suffers from massive grade inflation and a whole host of other maladies (it's like a giant popularity contest). I think it's highest value is giving you a menu of most attractions in just about everywhere (which is great if you're trying to decide how to allocate your time), but the rankings are suspect (not that other airline rankings aren't suspect either - you really have to read the methodology to see the limitations). In the US, data compiled but the US Department of Transportation is a decent source for trying to compare airlines on variables such as on-time performance, luggage losses, etc. Skytrax is good as well because you can see all airlines on it, even obscure ones. People tend to be automatically suspicious of airlines they've never heard of, even though they're ranked in the same category (3-stars) as the Deltas, Uniteds, American Airlines, etc. My own feelings are that most airlines are totally indistinguishable, except those in the top tier (Singapore, Ethiad, Emirates, etc.) which do distinguish themselves on service and which have state-of-the-art planes, which make flying a lot nicer.

Posted by
55 posts

Agnes,
You make valid points, but United has had some phenomenally bad press over the guy being dragged unconscious from a flight because he didn't want to give up his seat to United crew members. United's own CEO admitted that his personnel did not follow their own rules and should not have used force to remove any passenger in such a situation. It's hard to imagine United making any list of best airlines.

Posted by
4637 posts

So from our airlines only Alaska made it. I flew with Alaska often (it has its hub in Seattle) and also Delta (to Europe) and I don't see difference. Both are not very good, not very bad.

Posted by
6877 posts

The memory of what happened on United will be super short lived, like every other scandal. There will be other scandals to replace it, not to worry. It just happens to fill up the news cycle at the moment, and social media just magnifies it.

Posted by
6877 posts

Yes, Kaeleku, and meanwhile more pressing news is going on...like substantial changes that will dictate what kind of country Turkey will be (Erdogan's referendum to secure more power for himself and guarantee his rule for the foreseeable future, while diminishing the parliament and courts) and the worst confirmed friendly-fire incident in Syria which reportedly killed 18 people and then there's the multiple 360 degree turns Trump has made on just about everything he said in the past. But who's paying attention...

Ken, you're quite lucky to live in lovely BC (Okanagan Valley?) and away from this mess.

Posted by
8506 posts

I tend to think otherwise because this was emblematic of how the other 98% feels they are being dealt with by corporate America, from stinky uncomfortable planes and no recourse to decent rail lines, to shoddy appliances--even the upgraded ones, to shoddy products but no high-end shops where you live--closed by the corporation because they made a profit but "under-performed."

So companies with poorly trained and poorly paid staff, who are not the primary concern of many corporations, turn on the customers, who are also not the primary concern of many corporations. Would they have left him alone if he had said he was a stock holder? That seems to be the primary concern of the all corporations. This is why I don't think this will leave the public eye for quite a while. It was emblematic.

I also agree completely about the importance of upcoming elections and other events that are being pushed into the shadows.

Posted by
4535 posts

I also think the outrage is proxy to airlines in general.

This could have happened to just about any airline. It wasn't even United's fault; they asked security to help remove him but I can't imagine they thought he would be roughed up and dragged down the aisle. Even though I think he was in the wrong personally, it was no excuse to rough him up like that.

Posted by
8401 posts

United has had a bad reputation for a long time. They're the worst of the worst even before this latest fiasco. Many people avoid UA like the plague but bottom line is it hasn't, and won't, affect them in the least. The only big money they'll lose is when this guy wins the settlement.

Posted by
11450 posts

I won't forget . I hope the guy gets millions too. I hope airlines iccasionally think before acting like bullies

Posted by
31521 posts

Agnes,

Yes, I'm located in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. While we're insulated from problems in other areas to some extent, I'm also concerned about global events such as the upcoming vote in Turkey. I doubt that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk would be happy with the changes that Erdogan is trying to make in Turkey.

t was also upset to hear about the friendly fire incident involving the Reaper Drone. As I understand the Drone situation, there's a very specific criteria (including legal justification) that has to be met with target selection, and it would seem that someone got this one completely wrong.

Even here it's hard to completely avoid news about Trump, as it's covered by our news networks as well. In fact, Ivanka and family are apparently holidaying in Whistler at the moment.

My biggest concern at the moment is trying to figure out who to vote for in the provincial election on May 9th. Decisions, decisions.....

Posted by
13694 posts

Bets, I think you nailed it. Don't even get me started.
Agnes, I'm with you on the mess...and yes, I'm paying attention too.

Posted by
4740 posts

United has had a bad reputation for a long time. They're the worst of the worst even before this latest fiasco.

I fly United to Europe more than any other airline and quite frankly I find them no worse than the majority of airlines. Airlines seem to be in a giant race to the bottom when it comes to comfort and service. I was disappointed with recent flights on Lufthansa, Austrian, IcelandAir, and British Airways; they all got me where I needed to go, but they all had the same cramped seats and mediocre service. The flying public is getting ruder and more obnoxious too (not helped by the poor airline quality). Traveling in economy is just not a pleasant experience.

With the United incident, I think there are three parties that deserve blame. United certainly should have tried harder to get volunteers or figured out an alternate way to get the crew to the next city. I'm really surprised that an $800 - $1000 offer didn't get any takers. The passenger should have gotten out of his seat when asked. However, I lay the vast majority of the blame on security. I'm sure when United asked for security, they did not expect them to smack the passenger around, knock him out, and drag him out of his seat. I think the outrage against United stems from pent up anger about the general decline in the flying experience across the industry and this incident just sums up how customers feel they are treated by airlines.

Posted by
4535 posts

Everyone has the airlines they hate. Everyone I know that flies a lot has their least favorite airline, and they are all different. I don't know that United it that much worse than most others. And the reality is people have limited choices. If you live in or frequent a hub city, you'll mostly be flying that airline. Next up on the decision factor is price. It's a special treat to live in a place like Chicago where one can choose from every major airline.

And there really is an irony at work here. People want the cheapest fares they can get. But then complain that the seats are tight, they are treated like cattle and have to pay extra fees. That's of course no excuse for being physically abused, but that was done by the cops/security, not the airline.

Posted by
786 posts

I'm also shocked they didn't have any volunteers and I wonder if it is because they had started boarding and people weren't really listening. I have never seen the offer go above $400-$600 before people start volunteering and this includes during the holidays.

Posted by
6877 posts

I too had no idea that United had a long-standing bad reputation except for the bumps related to their consolidation with Continental Airlines (nothing new there, all consolidations are messy and uneven). To me, they are totally indistinguishable from others. The one thing I like about some airlines over others is their booking interface and I recall that United has a pretty user-friendly booking interface. But if you were to blindfold me and put me in economy class on any US-based airline, chances are I won't know what carrier I'm sitting in (although I could probably distinguish the leather seats on Southwest). As far as service, I'm not expecting much and am always happy to even get snacks/peanuts. The flight attendants are definitely cheeky on Southwest, and pretty much the same elsewhere. Never had an issue with any airline staff myself, although I've seen them get testy (back) in response to being challenged by some super testy passengers. Remember that Jet Blue flight attendant who "lost it" and exited the plane via the slide? Here's a throwback to that time: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/nyregion/10attendant.html

Posted by
13211 posts

I am happy to see Alaska as one of only two US carriers on that list. They are our favorite for domestic travel, whether to Alaska itself, California, New York, Florida, Idaho, etc. The planes are all Boeing 737's and nearly new ( although commuter routes are on Horizon Q400's).

Their customer service is excellent. If you miss a flight, you can change to a later one the same day for only $25, if there is one. And I have never seen anyone get bumped! (When we checked in for our flight to FLL last month they were asking for volunteers to take a different flight. We did not take the offer as we were on our way to Patagonia and needed to be on that flight. But they must have found sufficient seats, as by the time we got to the airport they were no longer looking for volunteers).

Their mileage program is excellent. We have booked Business Class to Europe on British Airways ( twice) and First Class to Australia on Qantas with our AS miles. Also flew six people up to Alaska (and back) for my 65th birthday celebration.

Posted by
31521 posts

Lola,

I also really like Alaska / Horizon as they've always provided great service. They're the best option to get from this area to Seattle, as they have about four flights per day in each direction (using Q400's), and it's only about a one hour flight. That sure beats having a layover in Vancouver!

Posted by
13211 posts

Plus, Horizon offers a free glass of Northwest wine or microbrew beer on their flights. ;-)

Those Q400 planes are noisy if you sit near the engines, so I always choose a seat far toward the back.

Posted by
646 posts

I'm sorry, but it certainly was United's fault. Overbooking is standard. That isn't the problem. The problem is seating people first and deciding the plane is overbooked second. That's insensitive and incompetent. In addition, the flight wasn't actually overbooked. United decided to add four employees at the last minute. That isn't over booking, that's arbitrarily deciding to add passengers.

Posted by
8401 posts

Laura, I do agree with most all that you said. And agree they're all pretty bad.

The latest rankings from the industry regarded Skytrax Awards.
http://www.airlinequality.com/news/2016-world-airline-awards-announced/#mainMenu

Based on reading negative opinions on this forum for over 13 yrs with United being named more often than others, and belonging to two RS travel groups and knowing lots of FF who say they'll fly any airline other than UA, I believe UA is disliked more than most others. Of course there are people who will say they've had no negative experience with UA, many years ago I flew UA several times and had no problem, but the vast majority of people I know have nothing but negative things to say about UA and I believe I've just been lucky. I heed their warnings and bad experiences and will not fly UA. And this was before this incident. This incident is indicative to me of a systemic problem with UA (and no doubt other airlines).
The link shows Skytrax top 100 airlines list, rated by customers from best to worst. I picked out the airlines familiar to me that fly US-Europe with their rating alongside. UA is at the bottom with AA and Icelandair.

Lufthansa (10)
Air France (14)
KLM (24)
British Air (26)
Virgin Atlantic (28)
Norwegian (30)
Air Canada (31)
Delta (35)
Aer Lingus (49)
United (68)
American (77)
Icelandair (81)

Posted by
31521 posts

Lola,

"Those Q400 planes are noisy if you sit near the engines, so I always choose a seat far toward the back."

I also try to sit either forward of or behind the props, but not just because of the noise. I have an aversion to sitting just a few feet away from those spinning blades. This is one example of why I'm nervous - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2827918/Air-Canada-passenger-hit-head-propeller-breaks-loose-slices-cabin.html

Posted by
2845 posts

I haven't flown United since a very uncomfortable flight back from Japan years ago. Flight attendant was very unprofessional, stood in the galley snacking and yakking all night long, and didn't close the curtain.

Posted by
85 posts

Jen, how do you know it was arbitrary? How do you know for sure when the United gate crew was notified of the flight crew they would need to accommodate? Could have been last minute, when they'd already begun boarding. Or, it could have been 3 hours before, and they botched things. Shockingly, people make mistakes at their jobs.

And yes, setting aside the manhandling for a moment, four people were inconvenienced. That seems reasonable to me when you look at the effect a delayed/cancelled flight the following morning would have had on the hundreds of people flying that flight and the subsequent ones on that plane, likely across the country. And getting back to the manhandling, we certainly have an issue with police/security forces using unnecessary force in this country - that seems a better focus for people's ire.

I primarily fly Southwest for domestic travel and like their lack of change fees and "cheeky," as Agnes called them, flight attendants. It also seems like they have a little more legroom, but I could be imagining that. I use United/Star Alliance for my international travel, and find it no better or worse than any other US carrier. I don't really understand getting frustrated by air travel in this country - can it be improved? God, yes. But this is what we have right now, and I basically go into my flights determined to make the best of a crummy situation. Why make myself mad over something I have no control over? The time to work for change in the industry is when you're far removed from a flight and emotions are not heightened.

Posted by
8506 posts

If it was last minute and the flight was boarded, the crew needed to make other arrangements. What does this mean if you have a loved one in a hospital dying? Or an important job interview? Or have to perform surgery on patients the next morning? There is no excuse for what happened. How cheeky to think passengers can be removed because the company has poor planning. I

Is gate agents knew hours ahead of time, someone made a BIG mistake letting all passengers board without raising the offer to the full amount. And if the company knew the flight was full, why not look for a later flight for the crew. In fact, the company could have flown the four down in a tiny jet; after all this is a hub. Or, even hired someone to drive them.

As for quality, someone needs to do a study to see if job satisfaction and airline quality are correlated. Bet they are.
And they need separate categories for airline subsidized by their countries and those that aren't.