The least liked airline in America?

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Picking on airlines is a national sport. Some of this blog's most commented-on posts, for instance, have been about rotten customer service on major airlines.

Which begs the question: What's America's most disliked airline?

Government statistics on poor airline performance only tell part of the story.

So, writer Tim Ferriss surveyed of his 60,000+ readers. Many commented on the webpage he created asking, "What is the worst airline?"

In his (admittedly unscientific) survey, "The Worst" was Delta, especially when you include the votes for Northwest, for a combined 30 percent of the total votes.

Ferriss then tapped Dolores Labs, which analyzed the "passion" of the views expressed about each airline in the posted comments. The result? The airlines that drew comments with the most negative sentiments the most often were Northwest, US Airways, and Delta, which is pretty much the same result. (Details on Dolores Labs' blog.)

Not everyone agrees. One comment on Ferriss' blog says, "Of course Delta, American, and United are going to see more poor reviews because of the sheer volume of spoiled Americans that travel with those brands."

Not to forgive shoddy service, but we ought to be fair in our evaluations.

Consider how Skytrax, which offers a more comprehensive survey, reports that feedback from tens of thousands of customers have led it to give Delta a three-out-of-five stars rating, which isn't bad, relatively speaking. But be careful! The opinions of the folks surveyed by the company aren't adjusted statistically to reflect the flying public at large the way most presidential election polls are adjusted.

When Zagat last surveyed customers about air travel (, it found that Delta came in top 5 for "best value" for domestic and international service. Not bad. Though Zagat isn't a statistically valid poll, either.

Ultimately, only you can figure out what's the best airline for you. So what do you think? Which airline's on your personal no-fly list?


The government's data: The best and worst airlines for performance in 2008

196 airlines you should avoid, according to the European Union, for your safety

The new airline fee I dislike the most (40+ comments)

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