Airline fee information: does it get better every year?

Airlines are no strangers to customer grumbles. Just take the latest report card from U.S. Government Aviation Administration. In 2016, only 22 of the 50 largest U.S. airlines received an F. Three did not…

Airline fee information: does it get better every year?

Airlines are no strangers to customer grumbles.

Just take the latest report card from U.S. Government Aviation Administration. In 2016, only 22 of the 50 largest U.S. airlines received an F. Three did not receive at all.

Keep in mind, however, that many of the airlines were beginning the first year of rebuilding after the 9/11 attacks. And it was only 28 of the 50 that broke even on full-year profit.

In the process, new airlines were starting up, the old ones were consolidating. That kind of thing can deplete any company’s resources.

Now consider the new FAA report: four airlines received an F, one did not, and 23 are not even on the list.

An F means the customer experience is substandard for the airlines’ overall status in the travel industry. Just one of the four airlines was noted for its air service quality. In 2016, United Airlines was the company taking the title for a D. American Airlines also rated an F.

Compare that to 1999, when nearly half the airlines had an A.

Today, the Aviation Authority says airlines are hiring, improving their information services and proactively managing customer complaints.

Unfortunately, these are just changes. It’s tough to call airlines cheap just because they’re charging more for your tickets. While everyone is flying with a computer on their belt and checking their luggage online, you’re still paying the same old in-flight price: $25 to check your bags. Some baggage fees are unavoidable; others are only changing their format.

I take the baggage fee? Yep. And every time I pay, I plan to go back later to try my luck and find that $25 empty baggage fee.

[Editors Note: This story was originally published in April 2016. It has been updated to reflect actual airline performance.]

Editor’s Note: Please consider Global Traveler’s past pricing posts here.

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