Condé Nast Portfolio weighs in on just how much United Airlines sucks

Condé Nast this week calls United the worst airline — ever.

While for many of you out there this probably does not sound like news, the writer — Joe Brancatelli, who pens the Web site’s Seat 2B column — does an admirable job putting United’s dismal performance during the past year into the greater context of its overall history of failure, from deregulation in the late 1970s right the way through to its bankruptcy in 2002.

Consider these facts from Brancatelli:

  • United lost $537 million in the first quarter of this year, more than the next two industry loss-leaders combined
  • United’s passenger decline of 4 percent last month was tops in the industry
  • In the last decade, United has failed twice to sustain a low-cost carrier
  • An attempt in 2000 to merge with U.S. Airways was marred in scandal after it surfaced that the top brass in the deal were structuring things so as to line their pockets
  • United’s on time performance is currently a hair above 70 percent, significantly worse than the industry average

That’s not even mentioning the debacle that was United’s bankruptcy. Brancatelli puts this Christmas 2002 collapse at the heart of United’s current woes, and makes a much better case against the airline overall than the admittedly simplified bullet list above.

Read Portfolio‘s full story here.