Monday, October 5, 2015

10 Best and Worst Rated Airlines of 2015

At Hissing Kitty we read a lot of complaints each year about airlines. In 2015, more than 10,000 travelers logged their experiences with us. We do not post all of them, but selectively choose the best (and worst) to share.
So, if you give customers a voice they will tell you what they like or dislike. You just have to listen to them. Sadly this is something most airlines will not do.
Because of this lack of empathy on the part of the airlines, flying is a completely extreme experience for most travelers. It is either very good or very bad. And it does not seem to matter whether it's a local flight or international.

That's why according to a recent USA Today report, airline complaints rose 20% in the first half of 2015 alone.

Airline companies seem to easily fall into one of two categories. They either have leadership that cares about their customers or they do not. Very few airlines are in that gray area of their being good or average.

Ultimately, building the best and worst airlines of 2015 was actually quite an easy task.

Here is the top 10 list of each, based on around 10,000 submissions on our website.

Best rated airlines of 2015

  1. Norwegian Air
  2. Virgin Airlines
  3. Hawaiian Airlines
  4. Qantas
  5. Southwest Airlines
Attributes of the best airlines
  • Competent airline staff
  • Fast customer service help
  • Accurate communication
  • Contemporary logo and brand
  • Updated fleet of planes
What the best airlines do right

Every airline has problems. So, what separates the good from the bad? From our research, being the best is simply a state of mind.

Even when customers were upset at the best rated airlines, they seemed to be more understanding about the issue. That's because overall their interactions with the company were positive.

It is quite fascinating to read a customer talk about a missed flight with Virgin America vs. a missed flight with one of the bad airlines like Qatar Airways.
The great airlines apologize quickly, give travel vouchers, and do whatever they can to alleviate the problem.
The best airlines also put a huge emphasis on customer service. Since most of the negative ratings are around waiting in the airline industry, speed is key. From flight updates to calling customer service on the phone, every second counts.

Worst rated airlines of 2015 

  1. Qatar Airways
  2. Emirates Airlines
  3. American Airlines
  4. United Airlines
  5. Air India
Attributes of the worst airlines
  • Lack of empathy from employees
  • Long hold time with customer service
  • Rigid corporate policies
  • Difficult to use applications
  • Outdated fleet
What the worst airlines do wrong

From our research, being bad is not simply missing on one or two things. It's doing almost everything wrong -- from delays, to incorrect bookings, to long hold times on the phone.

Customers are generally understanding that running an airline is tough work. And they also understand that sometimes weather or things beyond a companies control can delay flights. But, I'm not giving the airlines listed above a pass either.

Ultimately, it's similar to being great. Being a company with poor customer service seems to be a state of mind. The worst rated airlines of 2015 seem to have made a consistent choice to put profits over customer service.
Even the smallest problem quickly turns into a horrible customer service experience with these companies.
That's because customers with these companies are usually forced to endure terrible customer support interactions, inaccurate information, and delays at almost every part of the flying experience.

Have a great or horrible airline experience to share?

Let us know and see you in 2016.