It's official: Air travel really sucks now

plane ascending
Credit: Bryan Lee via Flickr

The 25th annual Airline Quality Rating study released Monday confirms what regular air travelers already know: Flying is an increasingly unpleasant experience.

The ongoing study assesses airline quality in four areas: on-time performance, involuntary denied boardings, mishandled baggage, and customer complaints.

Sadly, overall airline performance declined in each of those four areas:
  • On-time arrival percentage was down to 76.2% in 2014 from 78.4% in 2013. 
  • Mishandled baggage rate increased to 3.62 per thousand passengers last year from 3.21 per thousand passengers in 2013
  • Involuntary denied boardings increased to 0.92 per 10,000 passengers in 2014 from 0.89 per 10,000 passengers in the previous year
  • Consumer complaint rates increased to 1.38 per 100,000 passengers in 2014 from 1.13 per 100,000 passengers in the prior year.

Weird. The airline experience seems much more unpleasant than those numbers would indicate. And that's because it is! Airline personnel at the gate often can be unhelpful and even misleading, while baggage handlers seem unconcerned about the welfare of your belongings. 

And then there are the delays, late arrivals, required connections, crappy food and cramped quarters.

Other than all that, flying has never been better!

The annual Airline Quality Rating report is produced by Wichita State University in Kansas and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Arizona campus.

This story, "It's official: Air travel really sucks now" was originally published by Fritterati.