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Worst Airline - share your stories

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Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:21 pm    Post subject: Worst Airline - share your stories Reply with quote

I would have to say that the worst airline I've flown with was Air Canada. Fortunately it was only about a 10 hour flight from HNL to Sydney, but the plane was so old (or just not maintained I guess) that nothing worked - rickety seats that wouldn't go all the way forward or back, clapped-out audiovisual system that showed more static than movie, and the sound system was even worse, non-functioning hot water facilities so we couldn't even get a cup of coffee for the whole flight, and the new 'no liquids in hand luggage' rule on Nth American flights is just all-round terrible as they never give out enough drinks during any flight. I wonder how parents with bottle-fed babies manage when they travel.


They ran out of customs forms so there weren't enough for all the passengers on the plane and I had to hunt high and low when we were going through customs, and then when plane landed we were just about to disembark and they announced that they had forgotten to spray the plane with whatever chemical they use in aerosol cans, so we all had to go back to our seats, put all our luggage back where it had been during the flight and wait while they sprayed the plane.

It was horrible and I won't fly Air Canada again. Ever. And this has reminded me that I should contact the airline and have a whinge to them too.
Doing what you like is freedom
Liking what you do is happiness
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Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grrr. I was on a very late night Continental flight - only a few passengers - even though it was no smoking, two flight attendants sat near me at the front of the plane, smoking like chimneys. I asked (and I swear I was polite) about it - if smoking was allowed, I wanted to move. What slayed me was that they looked right at me and denied they were smoking! DENIED!! All the while they cupped their burning cigarettes in their hand, smoke curling up like you can only imagine.

They then walked down the full aisle of the plane, cigarettes still burning, and finished their smokes at the back of the plane. I've puzzled over that for years.

It was the bizarre lie that stunned me the most.

But at least the plane landed safely!
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Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not my story, thank god! But I doubt anyone's going to be able to beat those flights on which people were, basically, prisoners on the runway for 8-11 hours. And, even after all that time, they never even got to take off.

It happened when those awful snowstorms crippled the north half and east 2/3 of the country but I still can't figure out why they couldn't let people get out and walk back to the terminals.

Even on a plane equipped for a transcontinental 3 hour flight I doubt the heads are equipped to hold what would go on in a full plane for 8-11 hours. And I worked with kids so a crying baby or antsy toddler doesn't push my buttons like a lot of folks. But all that time? Who could say it wasn't a modern miracle that someone didn't strangle a child or parent?! Or flight attendant!
God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My worst experience was with British Air Tours, a company (I later found out) that was so underserviced it wasn't allowed to land in Australia. After a pleasant flight from Melbourne to Perth, a few lovely days in that sundrenched city and a peaceful cruise to Singapore (On the good ship Turkmenia!) we really weren't prepared for the flight. First it was a fully packed airbus back in the days when smoking was allowed. My seat broke when I sat on it and the attendant fixed it by taking the tray off the back of the seat in front of me and putting that under the cushion. We then spent 4 hours sitting on the runway while the fuel cooled down to the right level. The flight to Bahrain for refuelling was tedious and hot, the air conditioners weren't functioning--and a few of the toilets plugged up so their were line ups for those which did function. So many people were smoking (myself included) that when we landed for refuelling the moisture from the air condensed on the walls and tiny rivulets of yellow/brown sweat ran down the walls. 17 hours of hell actually and then when we landed in London it was pouring!

Best flight? Miami to Rio bumped up to 1st class. We are talking real caviar, champagne, silver service mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Vivant Linguae Mortuae!!
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Joined: 18 May 2006
Posts: 94
Location: Worldwide

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Delta keeps losing my luggage (well, it's happened twice in the last 6 months). The last time, they didn't even have an answer as to what happened to it. It was a bottle of wine by itself in a box, so I figure that the baggage handlers decided they wanted to have some wine with their dinner that night. Very irksome because it came from a winery in Australia, so it's not exactly easy to get back there. Sad

Oh- and my worst WORST flight ever was with a company that doesn't exist anymore: Canada 3000. When the 'meal' came, I swear I couldn't tell what the hell it was. Meatloaf... maybe?? Needless to say, I didn't eat it, but was amazed that my seat partners did. Made me wonder just how much worse the food would have to be in order for them to also not eat it.
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Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 184
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Franca wrote:
[When the 'meal' came, I swear I couldn't tell what the hell it was. Meatloaf... maybe?? Needless to say, I didn't eat it, but was amazed that my seat partners did.

I once had a 'vegetarian' breakfast on Delta and it was indescribable- there were definitely sultanas in there but I have no idea what the rest of it was. Strange really when they could have just given us cereal and I would have been happy. I had a long conversation with the lady next to me about what on earth it could be. She took a bite and was still baffled- I wasn't so brave and decided to stay hungry.

Worst flight ever was a near crash-landing in Jaipur on Indian Airways. Very scary.
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Joined: 28 Mar 2006
Posts: 154
Location: North of Auckland, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Granted I haven't done a lot of flying, but I have been forever put off Garuda Indonesia and Qantas.

The very old plane flown by Garuda Indonesia kept making weird noises throughout the entire flight, things were broekn, and the safety videos and information was at least 20 years old. Service was very poor, and I can't actually think of anything nice about the two flights we flew with them. My step-sisters and I spent the entire plane flights glancing at each other at every bump/shudder/groan of the aircraft and willing the time to pass quickly.

Qantas was all about the service. It was plain horrible. We were going to Mauritius, and had 2 flights with Qantas, and one with another airline, there and back. The flight from Auckland to Sydney was fine, it was every flight after that, that was awful. We had an hour between the time our international flight landed, to the time we were due to board a domestic flight. We got through customs as quickly as we possibly could considering it was 7pm and a number of other flights had just landed as well, was brusqely questioned about chocolate I had declared, then sprinted through the maze of an airport, with all out luggage, to the domesstic check-in, only to be snapped at by the Qantas check-in woman for taking forever to get through, and that our plane was boarding RIGHT NOW. Fast forward through the bus ride to the domestic terminal, sprinting through to the other end of the terminal, only to find that we weren't due to board for another half hour. Spent the next 6 hours with very grumpy airline attendents, and horrible rubber type stuff masquarading as food.

Same type of service etc. on the way home. Fantastic...
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Joined: 03 Jul 2007
Posts: 10
Location: I'm a Kiwi currently living in Japan

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:44 am    Post subject: bad airline, good airline Reply with quote

I've got so many for this post, unfortunately, but two that stick out are the following.

Bangladesh Biman- I flew Bangkok to Calcutta with them. It was the service more than the actual aircraft. The two flight attendants spent more time straightening their saris, putting on makeup, and gossiping than anything else. They were right in front of us but we couldn't get their attention for anything. So, when we rang the buzzer, they shot us looks of disgust for interrupting their gossip so rudely.
Our "meals" consisted of an old piece of processed American cheese between two pieces of over-processed white bread that was both dried out and mouldy at the same time. We were told promptly that "There was nothing else".

Northwest (Northworst around here)- Another food incident. We got strwberries for dessert with our veggie meals which turned out to be mouldy (I'm not joking...two mould episodes!). We asked if we could have one of the nice icecreams that they were handing out instead, and were told abruptly, "Those are for the meat-eaters. You ordered vegetarian!".

We always order the veggie meals as we've found that you get served first, and the quality is often better. These two cases aside, obviously.

However, my best experience was with Emirates (London to Hong Kong) which had amazing service and the meals were more than we could eat. Although it was economy class, we were served as if we were in Business class. Oh, and I almost forgot, Air New Zealand always pours out award winning wines, straight from the bottle. Then they walk around saying things like, "C'mon, who's gonna help finish off these bottles?" Makes me proud to be a Kiwi!
Life's a journey, not a destination.
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Joined: 20 Jun 2007
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iceland Air -- hands down.

Four flights in one month and all of them were late. On one flight, we were 37 hours late arriving in Paris from the States. Not only were they late but also terribly disorganized, uncommunicative, and generally rubbish. No matter how much money you save, it's not worth it if you don't actually reach your destination!!! Evil or Very Mad
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Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my vote goes to a recent flight from NY to Paris with American Airlines. The flight was late, and when we got on board we thought we'd stepped into a time machine, back to 1985. The plane was very old and tatty-looking, we got on board and five hours after what was supposed to be a 'routine maintenance check', we finally headed off, 15 hours after scheduled take off time.

The service was the worst Ive ever encountered, the hosties were abominable (as was their attitude to work: not deigning to answer buzzers and someone had spilt their salad and i slipped on the lettuce leaves still on the floor an hour later Shocked ) The in-flight movie (on a communal screen, which i hadnt seen in a plane for years) was GREASE Laughing And i think the food dated from the same era, it was mushy, tasteless and utterly unrecognisable.

We unfortunately got stuck in a violent summer storm just out of Paris, so we touched down at CDG pleased to have survived our trip back to the 80s

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Richard Leader

Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Posts: 77
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Japan Air Lines - flight from London to Sydney - my ass couldn't fit in the seat - and seriously, I'm not fat - just normal (34"waist) - the most uncomfortable 20-something hours of my life
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Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 63
Location: Northfield, MN

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most recently, American Airlines from Chicago to Shanghai. On the way there, they lost our vegetarian meal request, so we had to pick our way around the meat (meaning, in 14+ hours in the air, we had very little to eat. And they wouldn't give us any extra rolls or anything to compensate). On the way back, we got stuck in Chicago when our domestic connection got cancelled (boarded the plane, sat on the runway for an hour, de-planed, hung out for some hours at the gate, and finally learned it was cancelled late at night). We got put up and free meal vouchers...but it was so late, we couldn't find any place open to use our vouchers. The next day, proceeded from Chicago to our final destination via Houston (which added an unnecessary 4 hours of flying time to the direction we were traveling) - and then had two separate airplanes have mechanical issues in Houston and got stuck when they (again) cancelled the flight. It took us twice as long to get from Chicago to upstate NY (normally a 2 hour flight) as it did to fly from Shanghai to Chicago. And they lost our luggage on top of all of that. I will never fly American again.
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 32
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only Airline I've ever had problems with is British Airways. Leaving via Heathrow is a nightmare because their flights never leave on time no matter where you are flying (except once when we flew to New York) and mostly the onboard services aren't great.

I was in Business class and due to industrial action they weren't even allowed to offer refreshments like a can of drink, a bottle of water etc. I only had a 2 hour flight to Oslo, Norway but still I've paid for a better service than economy (coach) so why couldn't they have just bought some bottled water for onboard passengers? They say when you are flying to stop DVT you should regularly have refreshments etc. I pity the poor longhaul passengers who would've had to buy everything they needed at the expensive departure lounges.

The Best (short-haul) airline in my opinion is a low cost carrier from the UK to Norway (they fly from Stansted Airport) so no lengthy delays through Heathrow and they are cheap and very attentive (ok so you have to pay for your refreshments) but you get to sit wherever you like and the seating is comfortable.

The Best (long-haul) airline in my opinion is Virgin Atlantic, not only can you check in about 6 hours before your flight (or more) they really do have a great team on the ground as well as onboard and they are very accommodating if you want to change seats (as long as you give them plenty of notice) and once when we were asked to give up our seats at Newark (New York) because the flight was overbooked they gave us generous vouchers for food and a hotel for the day (so we can rest etc) and they even took our luggage and kept it at the airport for us for the night flight (even after September 11). They even upgraded our seating as well as giving us a free economy pass each for a return flight anywhere on the Virgin Atlantic network in the future which could be taken within 18 months. So whenever I can fly Virgin Atlantic I use them they may be a bit more expensive than BA sometimes but the good outweighs the bad and needless to say we booked another trip to New York City.
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