United named 'America's Meanest Airline'

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Late flights and lost bags are just a couple of the reasons United Airlines has earned the title of "America's Meanest Airline" for 2012.

The rankings, released this week, are based on the annual airline quality ratings report. U.S. News & World Report takes those numbers to rank what it calls the meanest airlines.

"United Airlines had the highest rate of consumer complaints in 2011, beating out all other airlines with 2.21 complaints per 100,000 passengers," U.S. News reporter Miriam Weiner wrote.

The AQR report shows United experienced a drop in on-time arrivals and an increase in the number of lost or damaged bags in 2011.

Southwest Airlines ranked fifth meanest out of 11 national carriers. US Airways was fourth, American third and Continental second.

Delta Airlines seems to have made the most improvements. It took the title of the meanest national carrier in 2010. In 2011, it dropped to No. 6 on the list.

United representative Rahsaan Johnson sent KPRC Local 2 the following statement:

"Aligning Continental's and United's procedures in 2011 drove many changes in the way customers do business with us -- including how they redeem frequent-flyer miles or board airplanes. Many of these necessary changes left some travelers frustrated. Additionally, we decreased our cancellation rate to one of the industry's best, but saw an increase in delays, which can lead to missed connections, delayed bags and complaints.

"With our merger largely completed, we're focused this year on giving employees tools to do a better job and giving customers more of what they want: better airport lounges, more legroom, upgraded first and business class, larger overhead bins and in-flight Wi-Fi. We believe customers will enjoy an improved experience this year."

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