Delta tops list of “most complained about” U.S. airlines

Travel + Leisure just released a survey that compiled airline complaint information from the Department of Transportation. In it, the number of complaints per 100,000 passengers were collected. The results are not much of a surprise – the legacy airlines take up the top spots, followed by low cost airlines and regional feeders.

Here are the top 5 airlines from the list:

  1. Delta Airlines – 1.96 per 100,000 passengers
  2. United Airlines – 1.34 per 100,000 passengers
  3. US Airways – 1.31 per 100,000 passengers
  4. Northwest Airlines – 1.21 per 100,000 passengers
  5. American Airlines – 1.07 per 100,000 passengers

The list is based on data from the previous year, so Delta and Northwest are still listed separately. As usual, the low cost carriers score very well – JetBlue made tenth place and Southwest Airlines doesn’t show up till the 19th spot – with a mere .21 complaints per 100,000 passengers. Click here for the complete list, along with responses from the airlines and some background information on how they may have reached their spot.

(Photo credit: AP)

Roller Girl busted for stealing 525 tickets from United Airlines

Mercedes Stafford, the president of the Cincinnati Roller Girls pleaded guilty yesterday to illegally obtaining more than 500 airline tickets.

Stafford, who is known as “Sadistic Sadie” in her roller team works as a ticketing agent for United Airlines at Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport and figured out a way to issue herself free tickets.

Her system involved printing tickets normally issued to passengers involved in canceled or delayed flights, but her greed eventually caught up with her when she was caught.

The tickets ended up costing United Airlines up to one million Dollars – and Stafford admitted she sold them for more than $50,000 to friends, family members and fellow Roller Girl team members.

If convicted, she could end up in jail for 20 years, but since she agreed to make restitution to the airline, she may get a more lenient sentence. If she does go to jail, she should do just fine – Sadistic Sadie is the current holder of the “most feared” award in her team.

(Photo from

New United Airlines livery still keeps a bit of Continental in the mix

What you see here is the proposed final product of the United Airlines – Continental merger. As you can see, the new airline will fly with the United name, but keeps the globe logo from Continental.

I’m not sure what to make of it – but since these two airlines have been such important players in the aviation world, it’ll take a while to get used to the combination.

Over at, you’ll find a lot of information about the merger, and how it’ll impact travelers.


Security at its best: plane returns to destination (for nothing) after “do not fly list” confusion

Plane takes off, then ground crew notices plane passenger is on “do not fly list”, plane turns back to airport, passenger not really on “do not fly list”.

That dear readers, is the short version of a breakdown in security.

The moronic incident took place on board a GoJet flight, operating as United Express. The plane departed St. Louis airport, destined for O’Hare. Before take-off, the ground computers used to check for bad guys were not working.

Once the plane was on its way, someone managed to kick some sense into the computers, and noticed that the plane was carrying someone who on the government list of people suspected of something bad. The airline ordered their plane to return back to St. Louis.

Once on the ground, the ground staff came to the conclusion that the bad guy wasn’t really a bad guy, and that he was not the same person as the one on the list. Still with us?

Seriously – you can’t make this stuff up. First we let people fly who are on a watch list, then we let planes take off with someone who may or may not be on the list. The stupidest part? The time the plane took to turn around and land at St. Louis airport is probably only 20 minutes less than it would have taken to fly on to Chicago. Didn’t someone think that if the bad guy really was a terrorist, that turning around minutes into the flight may have been more suspicious than just going on to its destination, and checking him out there?

We don’t need terrorist to screw up air travel – we are doing a mighty fine job on our own.

Corporate executive not welcome in the United Airlines first class cabin

The United Airlines bad news machine has been working overtime lately – first they were mocked in the “United breaks guitars” video clip, then they screwed up with that same passenger when they lost his luggage.

Today’s bad news comes from Dulles airport, where a bald man in a track suit was called to the podium to have his first class upgrade revoked. The reason? He was dressed too casually.

Now, this was no regular bald man in a tacky track suit – this gentleman is Armando Alvarez, a vice president with electronics retailer Best Buy.

Apparently, United Airlines suddenly decided that they’d pretend we are all back in the 60’s, and that the first class cabin should only be occupied by people dressed for the occasion.

Mr. Alvarez was interviewed by the Washington DC Fox affiliate and told reporters that he was humiliated and embarrassed. When he tried to contact the customer relations department, nobody responded, and even the Fox reporters couldn’t find anyone within United Airlines willing to speak on the matter.

The United Airlines contract of carriage only makes mention of barring barefoot passengers, and I’ve never encountered a dress code. Non-rev passengers (employees and their friends and family) do need to dress in business casual attire, but that obviously does not apply to paying passengers like Mr. Alvarez.

That said, I’m sure a lot of people would love to see a basic level of decency return to the first class cabin, but to be honest, that part of the plane really isn’t all that impressive. A slightly wider seat and some warm nuts don’t justify having to put on your Sunday suit for a trip.

After the jump, a video clip from the interview with