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Which Airline Ranks Worst in Customer Satisfaction?

Tim Boyle, Getty Images

Last year, airlines in the US posted their highest profits in more than a decade — but all that money sure didn’t buy a lot of customer satisfaction.

The 2011 Airline Quality Rating (AQR) report indicates profits are up largely from making passengers fork over baggage fees and higher fares, and eliminating free in-flight food. It’s no wonder passengers are increasingly cranky, especially when several airlines also get frequent complaints about delays, mishandled baggage and being involuntarily bumped from flights.

Using data from the AQR report and elsewhere, US News compiled a list of the major airlines that it says could stand to improve their customer service. Here’s the list of the worst airlines:

1. United

According to the AQR, United had the second-highest customer complaint rate in 2010 with 1.64 complaints reported per 100,000 passengers, and placed second on Business Insider’s list of ‘The 18 Worst Companies in America.’

2. American

AA ranked fifth in total consumer complaints among all airlines surveyed, and it’s also on the Business Insider list for reasons including high baggage fees and service cutbacks.

3. Frontier

Its on-time performance improved this year, but customer complaints and mishandled baggage reports went up, too.

4. Continental

The airline made strides when it came to mishandled baggage on-time performance, but customer complaints and denied boardings (passengers who were bumped) offset the gains.

5. Delta

The carrier had the highest customer complaint rate of all the airlines and also placed sixth on Business Insider’s list, due at least in part to having some of the highest fees in the industry for large or heavy checked baggage.

[US News]

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