Some airlines take a firm stand against customer service. Hopefully this disturbing attitude does not become an industry trend. After spending a life time traveling the world, I have finally decided to list the two airlines that stand apart from the rest when it comes to complete disregard for its passengers.
#1 US Airways
If ever there was an airline that said "every man for themselves".... I have seen airline flight attendants embarrass customers who asked for assistance on the plane and I have seen the gate attendants roll their eyes when a customer requested an aisle seat for an elderly woman when they reassigned her ticket to a center seat due to an airline error, and so much more.
Then there was me--morning sick from my first pregnancy and flying home from a relaxing trip to a few Caribbean Islands with my family. Each plane we boarded was late but this one was almost two hours late. We were told there was no water on board the plane bathrooms. These things happen however and should be taken in stride.
When the plane landed we sprinted from one end of the airport to the other to make our connection. One person from my flight arrived 15 minutes before take off. I arrived 11 minutes before. Others arrived after. US Airways insisted that they close the doors 10 minutes before the flight which should have meant that my family and I were able to board, but they insisted it was too late. It was late at night. The airline had canceled other flights and would not put us on a partner airline so they insisted that we were out of luck.
I watched a young mother who needed to pick up her daughter in a few hours bawling because nobody would help her. I saw a "customer service" associate toss an amenities bag at another worried customer who said she did not have money for a hotel before yelling at the soft spoken woman to "sleep at the airport." I looked over at my mother and shook my head. "Jesus knew not to put me in that line," I told her.
A supervisor named Sonata at this Philadelphia airport walk away from me in mid sentence and another associate named either J. Kevin K., or K. Kevin J., whose job role is unknown, started throwing jabs about how they won't help us, how it's not their problem, and how we should have ran faster.
I didn't even know why he was talking to me when I was talking to another associate whose job was actually customer service. I legitimately thought he was the company janitor and wondered why he was trying to pick a fight. Is it just me or is the last thing you need when customers are stranded and upset someone who fans the fire?
One supervisor named Mustafa simply refused to come and talk to me.
Because I have pretty bad morning sickness that lasts nearly the entire day, staying at the airport was not an option for me. The airline said they would give us a discount that brings the hotel costs down to $80 or more. When asked why they would not cover our hotel costs after refusing to let us on the plane they said it depends on how they classify the flight problem. Basically, they can classify the flight anyway they want in the computer so that it falls outside of the criteria for deserving a hotel stay.
One rep told me the flight was NOT labeled as delayed at all, therefore we don't qualify. Other said that it was delayed for weather, therefore we don't qualify. Another said it was delayed because of air traffic so we don't qualify. Everything was inconsistent EXCEPT for the lack of customer service that we received at all times.
Little gestures that other airlines grant customers such as an attentive ear are not included in the ticket fee and should not be expected. Not caring about resolving customer concerns seems to be a serious part of the company culture.
The positives about this airline are that they sometimes have slightly lower fares than other airlines and you won't have to worry about disgusting food because chances are you won't receive as much as a peanut while on board.
#2: Air China
If you have the pleasure of flying this airline make sure you never need to request any type of customer assistance because you will be waiting in a very long line of irate customers who will never receive any either.
I was truly shocked by how difficult this airline stands against granting mileage to alliance members on certain flights, and how no matter how small of a request passengers made the reply was always "that has to go through management and the managers are not here" even though these are peak business hours.
It is clear that delegating authority is a major hindrance to customer service for this airline. When there were errors made on flight tickets nobody was able to help and when the representative on the phone said they would take care of something it did not happen.
Also, watch out for some of the most unappetizing food available on the planet and do not be surprised when they tell you they need to weigh your carryon luggage to make sure it fits their requirements.
The positive aspects of this airline are that they were very reasonable when it came to changing tickets with much smaller penalties than other carriers and their fares are often lower than their competitors when traveling Asia.