Best U.S. Airlines: 2013 Edition Unveiled By Airfarewatchdog

Eight weeks remain in 2013-including the busy holiday travel season-but apparently Airfarewatchdog has seen enough. Last week it announced its picks for the best, and worst, U.S. airlines of the year. The top three were Frontier, Virgin America and JetBlue with United ranking last.

For criteria, Airfarewatchdog looked at canceled flights, on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, denied boardings and customer satisfaction. Interestingly, top overall airline Frontier didn’t rank at the top of any individual category.The entire overall results:

  1. Frontier
  2. Virgin America
  3. JetBlue
  4. Alaska
  5. Southwest
  6. Delta
  7. AirTran
  8. US Airways
  9. American
  10. United

Airline Mistake Offers $0 Tickets, Will Honor If ‘Appropriate’

airline mistake
JamesZ_/Flickr

It was an airline mistake and the number of tickets sold is unknown, but a glitch on the United Airlines booking site offered some really good deals yesterday. Only the automatic airport fees and other surcharges added to flights by airports around the country were included, not the price of the flight. The flash sale-like offerings were caused due to an error loading fares into the United computer system.

This is not the first time this has happened. A similar mistake happened in May 2002 when a fare sale accidentally appeared as a $5 round-trip ticket for about 45 minutes. In 2008, United accidentally stopped charging a fuel surcharge that was as much as $130. In that case, the airline honored the price of tickets sold without the surcharge.

But what about those unbelievably low fares? Will United honor the obviously incorrect pricing?
“As always, we will do what is appropriate,” United Continental Holdings Inc. spokeswoman Megan McCarthy told the Huffiington Post.

What Do You Think Of United Airlines’ New Uniforms?

Courtesy United Continental Holdings.

Starting today, passengers flying United Airlines will see the flight crew decked out in new threads. According to a press release, tens of thousands of worldwide employees – including flight attendants, customer service agents, technical operations and ramp workers – will begin wearing new, sophisticated uniforms with accents of blue, gold, silver and gray.

Although news outlets like Jaunted have questioned United’s choice to go against trend and not enlist a high-profile designer to create the uniforms, such as Banana Republic who recently outfitted Virgin America’s crew, United says the company relied on feedback from their employees to create the stylish yet functional clothing. Pilots will be the last to switch over to the new getup when they begin wearing new, midnight blue uniforms later this year. Once everyone has made the switch, the company’s attire will – for the first time ever – have a cohesive feel across all operations.

United’s New Mileage Program Cuts Out Budget Travelers

Luis Argerich, Wikimedia Commons

United Airlines’ new mileage program is set to include a minimum annual spending level, essentially cutting budget travelers out of the perk-earning picture. The new plan forces travelers to spend a set amount of money to get benefits, meaning those who smartly snag deals and rack up miles will no longer garner elite status.

Starting January 2014, those enrolled in United MileagePlus will need to earn a combination of either miles or segments, plus dollars, to get rewards. For example, to reach the first tier, a frequent flier must earn either 25,000 miles or 30 qualifying segments, plus a minimum of $2,500 qualifying dollars. So now, two round-trip flights from the United States to Europe that could have otherwise landed a traveler an upgrade might not qualify any longer, especially if a traveler found a great deal on airfare before booking.

As outlined above, travelers who only hit the road when they find a can’t-miss deal will be hurt most by the new qualifications, leading us to believe that the airline might want to reconsider the MileagePlus program tagline: “the world’s most rewarding loyalty program.”

Man Says He Poisoned All Passengers Aboard Hong Kong To New Jersey Flight

United Plane
Franco Folini, Flickr

A man is being questioned by authorities after he claimed to have poisoned everyone traveling on United Flight 116. The flight, which was making its way from Hong Kong to Newark’s Liberty Airport, landed at 1:34 p.m. today, several hours after a male passenger made the frightening declaration.

According to news reports, the passenger was in an emotionally disturbed state. He made the announcement about having poisoned everyone on board several hours before the flight was due to arrive in New Jersey.Despite this, the FBI said the decision was made not to divert the plane to a closer airport. Instead, flight attendants surrounded the man along with a number of other passengers who volunteered to help restrain him for the duration of the flight.

Both local police and FBI agents were notified and were ready to meet the plane as soon as it landed. According to an FBI spokesman, there is no evidence that any passengers were actually poisoned.