Zagat survey: five ways customers say they hate airlines … in their own words

It’s almost sport for customers to describe how much they hate airlines. Sure, there are a few that do well from time to time, occasionally delivering high levels of service or eschewing ancillary fees. But, the overwhelming trend tends to be one of customer dissatisfaction.

Zagat, which is in the business of measuring and publishing value and taste, has taken a shot defining the highs and lows of the airline business, and the results aren’t all that positive. Well, let’s be frank: there’s nothing pleasant about flying.

The survey results aren’t all that shocking, and you can get them here from Zagat. What’s more fun is the stuff Zagat wouldn’t print … on the advice of its lawyers, the company announcement claims with an implied smirk.

How bad can it be? Let’s look at five insights from the Zagat airline survey … with customer claws bared in all their gory glory:1. Akin to an execution: Zagat’s surveyors seemed to spend a lot of time talking about death. One noted, “The only thing missing is a blindfold and a cigarette.” Another said, “At least they haven’t killed me yet.” Get the message? In case you don’t, one called air travel, “A violation of the Geneva Convention.”

2. Service with a scowl: again, it’s not much of a shock that customer service didn’t score all that high. One surveyor summed it up: “Unwelcome aboard!” But, if you think that’s the most creative, you’re out of your mind. I did enjoy the comment, “My bags get better service, but they pay extra.” Nothing, however, beats one disgruntled contributor who asked, “Who made them mad at their customers?”

3. Not even money can buy you happiness: do you think the rich have it better? Well, not in the skies they don’t! According to one Zagat surveyor, “The only difference between economy and business classes is a shrimp on your salad.”

4. Training is key: and this is what led one to muse, “Flight attendants seem to have trained with Frau Blucher.” Yes, but what instruction guide was used? That’s where another chimed in: “Staff must use Orwell’s 1984 as a training manual.” Ouch.

5. Get comfortable? Get real: the fact that passengers don’t get a lot of space didn’t escape notice. One surveyor says, “I don’t love getting up-close-and-personal with the head of the person in front of me.” Notes another, “Seats make an iron maiden seem comfortable.” It gets worse: “Like a cattle car, except the cows are mercifully slaughtered at trip’s end.”

[photo by joiseyshowaa via Flickr]