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Are You Flying a “Mean” Airline?

Is Your Airline Among the Meanest?

It’s great that the airlines made money last year, all except American Airlines that is.

And according the recently released 2011 Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report, the experience of flying has improved too.

The AQR is a touted as a “premier statistical study of major airline performances in the United States” conducted by a Wichita State and Purdue University professor.

Still, outrageous baggage fees, elimination of food and other creature comforts, numerous add-on fees may well contribute to an airline’s healthy bottom line, but it leave us pretty disgruntled.

And judging from last year’s dramatic exit from a JetBlue plane by an employee, airline workers are also pretty unhappy with the flying experience.

So when Yahoo Travel came out with its “Meanest Airlines 2011” list, it seemed like all the airlines would qualify for the top spot, an ignominious list of 1.

Turns out there are gradations of meanness.

So, here are the best of the losers, the meanest of the mean, as Yahoo sees it:

Meanest Major Carrier
United Airlines, which came in last place. Its AQR score indicates the number of customer complaints exceeded those of all other airlines in its class.

Meanest Regional Carrier
American Eagle won hands-down here, largely due to an unacceptable number of mishandled bags and high rate of “involuntary denied boardings.”

The Most Complained About Airline
And the top prize goes to Delta with “the highest consumer complaint of all the carriers surveyed “ for the 2011 Airline Quality Survey Report.

Most Likely to be Late

The top honors go to Comair, with the “worst on-time performance for all of the airlines surveyed for the report.” Nice

There are more “Meanest Categories,” but we’re too depressed to list them.

For more information, check out Yahoo Travel, or give up flying!

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