And I’m not speaking about safety issues here- I know that many small airlines in central Asia or Africa have a hit and miss record and hence are certainly among the worst airlines in the world regarding safety, but I’m speaking about airplane quality, and most important, service. To me, this is what makes one airline better than the other.
A couple of days ago I was on a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Washington, and once again had the chance to witness rude and uncalled for behaviour by a flight attendant. As soon as we got in the plane we were already unsatisfied because having already selected seats when booking the flight we had to sit sepparately, something that was completely ignored and not only with us but with other families traveling aboard too. Liza was on the seat behind me, but on my right was a female who had her children and husband scattered somewhere in the front of the airplane. To my left was a lady who had her husband on the other side of the aisle.
The plane was to depart on time, all passengers were ready and we were beginning to move when passengers were requested to turn off all electronic devices including cell phones, lap tops and the rest. The lady on my left was using an ebook reader (kindle) and was not sure if she had to turn that off too, so she asked the first flight attendant that walked by. Her response was something like this, without even looking at her:
FA- “Sweetheart, does it have an on/off button? I bet it does. Which means it’s an electronic device, so you better turn that off immediately”.
Lady- “I have never been asked to turn it off in other airlines, are you sure?”
“I certainly am. So please don’t make me repeat myself and turn it off right now. I am only a flight attendant, these are not my rules, I am only here to spread the joy”.
And with that final remark she continued her stroll down the aisle.
Us passengers who had witnessed the episode stared at each other in disbelief, while the lady was left upset and mumbling what I assume were comments on what had just happenned. Right after this I remembered a similar episode Nomadic Matt once mentioned in his blog.
And thus comes the question: do US airlines have the worst service in the world? I have flown with Delta, US Airways, AA, Continental, SouthWest, Alaska Airlines, United and others, and frankly none of them has ever done anything that has pleasantly surprised me. Continental Airlines once lost my luggage and paid 400 USD five months later, only to find my suitcase a month after and shipping it over- broken. I of course claimed that too and got a new one. The total process took 6 months and probably around 50 phone calls. Delta has a poor service- it is not the first time I witness or have heard of an episode like the one I have described. US Airways usually has well priced trans-Atlantic flights: planes have seats with personal TVs and service is good enough- not outstanding- but luggage is limited to one 20 kg (free) suitcase per traveler in most international flights and there’s a fee for all national flights. The rest are very much the same I’d say.
Internationally I have flown with airlines that have a bad reputation such as Russia’s Aeroflot, Lao Airways in Laos or Tiger Airways in Singapore, yet the flights were cheaper and certainly not any worst than any in the USA. So tell me:
Which is or what country has the worst airlines in the world?
[photo Matt Hintsa @ flickr]
Do you think the US has the worst air service in the world, particularly when you consider prices, service and number of daily flights?