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The Airline with the Worst Reputation in America

Keep this in mind when you book your next flight.


By Emily DiNuzzo, Reader's Digest

Flying can be a hassle: Shrinking seats, delayed departures, and confusing terminals come together to make travel days less of an adventure and more of a headache. But as with any industry, the company you do business with can make all the difference.

Fortunately, the annual Harris Poll reputation quotient made a list of the best and—and worst—extremely visible companies of 2018. The poll ranks the reputations of various companies, including airlines. To make the list, a company has to be a well-known and highly visible in society. The study then measures and evaluates these companies based on six things: vision and leadership, social responsibility, products and services, emotional appeal, workplace environment, and financial performance.

For the most recent poll, the highest-ranking airline was Southwest Airlines. United Airlines came in last.

The United Airlines reputation quotient was 62.33, landing it 11th from the bottom of the entire list of 100 companies. In comparison, Southwest’s quotient was 75.84. Although these numbers are telling, they factor in more than what affects day-to-day customers.

Another ranking, focusing only on airlines, placed Southwest as the second-best airline overall (Alaska Airlines was its top choice). Southwest’s high ranking on both lists could be thanks to this year’s lower fares and an increase in the size of its route network. The airline won points for its non-existent baggage and change fees, too.

As for United, live footage of a passenger dragged off of an over-booked flight in 2017 is still likely haunting the airline and might have partly caused the low ranking. United has dealt with a few highly publicized customer service incidents over the years, including two scary pet incidents (a puppy suffocating and a dog flown to the wrong country), giving away a child’s seat, and not allowing girls on a flight because they were wearing leggings. Even though you should be allowed to wear whatever clothing you want.
Advice, Airplane interior without passengers

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