Airline service – how low can it go?


A recent study by J.D. Power found airline customer satisfaction is at a three year low, and falling like a rock. No wonder. These days passengers must bear the brunt of gasoline surcharges, long line-ups, overbooked aircraft, seemingly arbitrary cancellations and fees for checked bags that invariably wind up on the opposite side of the globe from where they’re supposed to be. And the experts say it’s only going to get worse.

We want to hear your airline horror stories for an upcoming feature in the magazine. Are things getting worse out there on the tarmac? What’s it like flying today’s unfriendly skies? Drop us an e-mail or comment on this post and let us know.


Airline service – how low can it go?

  1. I was taking my son to Bahamas, ans decided to take one of those American connecting flights to save money to spend at Atlantis. First flight they were trying to squeeze people from a cancelled flight on our plane and we barely got on, As for the second, our flight was late coming in so we ran our butts off to get to the gate that was on our connecting tickets to find that they had switched the gate to the total other side of the airport. When we got to the gate that was two gates away from where we had originally come in, and after we caught our breath, we found out that the second flight was delayed. Two hours later, we got on a plane and taxied to the runway. On the runway, the pilot came on the mike to tell us that we had to go back to the gate as if they continue the flight to bahamas, they will be going over the allowed time they can be flying (FAA regulations). Everybody was waiting anxiously to see what type of moron the pilot looked like when he came out of the cockpit…’comfirmed’, not only did he act like one, he looked like one too! We had to wait another 2 hours at the gate for the second crew, with no problems after that.

  2. Oh boy, airline horror stories, this is a big can ‘o worms.

    Just a few days ago, I had the pleasure of seeing my girlfriend off on her flight from Seattle to Toronto. The flight connected through Vancouver, and the first leg was to be only a 30 minute flight, with 1.5h between connections.

    Well, the 30 minute flight wound up delayed 2 whole hours, because apparently airlines today do not keep any backup planes, so a single delayed flight (you know, same old same old) now causes a domino effect, stranding thousands of passengers.

    So now, instead of starving and freezing (blankets no longer exist!) on your way to your destination, you’re starving and freezing in the airport lounge. I never knew an airline could charge you to NOT get where you want to go, on-time!

    Mike is very right about the pilot and FAA regulations. The FAA treats this very seriously, since overworked pilots = death, and it’s hard not to agree with them. Instead of blaming the pilot, why can’t we blame the airline, for overworking their pilots all the way to the limit, and refusing to hire more? Or keeping more planes on the ground to step in when the inevitable delays creep in – mostly due to overcrowded airports and… DELAYED FLIGHTS!

    Between the high ticket prices and lack of service, it seems like a plane ticket nowadays means something more along the lines of “we’ll get you where you want to go… eventually… and you’ll be lucky to have all your clothes still on!”

  3. My new wife and I recently took a trip to Spain for our honeymoon. We live in Fredericton, so the best airport for price and convenience is usually Bangor, Maine – about a three hour drive. They lost our luggage going both there and back, but more frustrating was our experience at the Philadelphia airport. We have vowed never to fly into or out of the US again.

    We felt like cattle being herded into a slaughterhouse. TSA agents numbered in the hundreds, although judging from their appearance, demeanor and language, could have been mistaken for the cast and crew of an Eminem /50 Cent showdown had they not been in uniform.

    They are now doing biometric scanning (both index fingers and your eyes) in that airport, and I was wondering how I was going to manage to keep the US government from stealing my identity without “assaulting” the Federal agent. You see, there was a large sign in front of every agent’s booth explaining that I could be fined $5000 and/or go to prison for three years for simply “opposing” the agent. Everyone in front of us in the line was scanned, but luckily we were not asked to do so, for some reason.

    Last but not least, they confiscated my little container of terrorist hair gel. This was all the more troubling considering my wife has a 2 x 12 cm steel plate and seven screws in her ankle, yet none of the metal detectors in any of the four airports we went through picked it up. It certainly contains more metal than a box cutter.

  4. Had a business conference in LA on a Thursday. Travelling from Ottawa via a Chicago connection on the Wednesday before. Thunderstorms in Atlanta causes huge backup in Chicago. Get to Chicago and told they can’t get us on a flight to LA until Saturday. However they can get us back to Ottawa. So we turn around and go home. It seems no longer a question of getting there on-time but getting there at all.

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