Rebecca Garland
Rebecca Garland
Business and Education Expert

When you’re spending a lot of your money to move quickly from one place to another – especially if you’re trying to start a much-needed vacation – you want things to go well. Airline companies provide a valuable service, but things don’t always go as planned. And based on customer complaints, issues seem to spring up in some flight providers more than others.

While almost every airline in the US had a higher customer satisfaction index in 2023 than in 2022, complaints still piled up. Is the rising number of negative airline reviews a reflection of service? Or is it simply a misunderstanding?

We made the list from the worst to best airlines in the United States to find the answer based on real customer reviews. 

Key Insights:

  • Most airline reviews reveal issues with extra fees, rude customer service representatives, and delayed or canceled flights. 
  • Based on customer reports on PissedConsumer.com, Delta Airlines, Allegiant Air, and Frontier Airlines are reported to have caused the highest losses among US airlines, at $2.7 million, $2.1 million, and $1.5 million, respectively.
  • Delta Airlines and Frontier Airlines customers reported the most resolved issues, while Sun Country and Alaska Airlines clients stated the fewest.

10. Frontier Airlines: The Worst Airline I’ve Ever Flown

frontier Airlines rating

Frontier Airlines Rating* –  1.5⭐⭐

Frontier Airlines Reviews – 3.9K

Resolved Issues – 29

According to consumer complaints in 2022, Frontier Airlines ranks first among airlines in the U.S. by the number of negative reviews, which gives reason to consider it one of the worst airlines. So, what is Frontier Airlines rating among other U.S. airline rankings based on customer reviews left on PissedConsumer?

Frontier Airlines rating

The Frontier Airlines rating is 1.5 stars out of a possible 5 based on 1860 online reviews. Currently, only 6% of customers in these reviews would recommend Frontier, which is not surprising since 89% of Frontier Airlines reviews are negative. 

What are the top concerns highlighted in Frontier Airlines reviews?

Among the top Frontier Airline complaints, customers discuss poor communication with customer service, uncomfortable seating, and delayed flights. Hostile employees and deceptive practices have also worried travelers. 

Despite the staggering number of more than 340,000 calls made to the airline via the PissedConsumer platform, only 4% of the customers could successfully resolve their issues. 

One frustrated customer complained about a canceled flight, leading to a lost job opportunity. To add insult to injury, the airline only credited her $100 for a $449 ticket, leading to a monetary loss on the ticket and the potential job. 

Another Frontier Airline client called the company “the worst airline I’ve ever flown” after their flight was “delayed by over 4 hours.” The online app and kiosks wouldn’t “work to let me add and pay for my bag on my way to San Diego,” and when they “approached customer service, they wanted to charge me $20 to help.” Overall, the reviewer concluded:

The flight attendant was super rude to both of the people in my row. I went 7 hours without food or anything to drink. The entire experience was horrible.

Spirit Airlines Complaints

9. Spirit Airlines: Worst Airlines with Lousy Customer Service

Spirit Airlines logo

Spirit Airlines Rating* –  1.7⭐⭐

Spirit Airlines Reviews – 2.1K

Resolved Issues – 14

Like Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines is an ultra-low-cost carrier, which means there are no frills for customers. Perhaps this lack of amenities is why Spirit Airlines is near the top of our list of most complained-about airlines. So, where does Spirit Airlines rate against other US airline rankings? 

Spirit Airlines rating

Spirit Airline reviews have left the company with a rating of 1.4 stars out of a possible 5 on PissedConsumer. Just 17% of reviewers would likely recommend Spirit Airlines to a friend or colleague. While customers praise the company for cheap flights, they find the customer service to be lacking. 

What are the top concerns highlighted in Spirit Airlines reviews?

As a budget-friendly airline, Spirit Airlines doesn't offer many frills, which can cause concern for customers looking for cheap tickets. Customers complain about a lack of customer service, a bad refund policy, bad seats, and extra fees. They also have expressed frustration with a lack of professionalism, poor compensation when problems arise, and rude and disrespectful behavior. 

Besides, when attempting to contact the airline, customers also have trouble. On average, customer calls last for 5 minutes and 41 seconds, with only 9% of the raised issues resolved among 15,800 calls.

In one Spirit Airlines complaint, a flight was delayed by more than 9 hours. According to the reviewer:

Customers were so angry with the gate agents and Spirit for the delays, lack of communication and overall attitude that local police were brought to the gate to supervise Spirit's shenanigans.

American Airlines complaints

8. American Airlines: Fraudulent and Unethical Company

american airlines logo

American Airlines Rating* –  1.8⭐⭐

American Airlines Reviews – 1.9K

Resolved Issues – 14

American Airlines is the most extensive flight company in the United States. Despite its prominence in the country, it still ranks near the worst airlines according to customer reviews. What is the American Airlines rating among other US airline rankings?

American Airlines rating

According to American Airlines reviews, the company has a 1.8-star ranking out of a possible 5. Despite 82% of reviews about the company being negative, 38% of customers would be likely to recommend American Airlines to a friend or colleague. This may show that customers' issues were identified as isolated events rather than systemic problems.

What are the top concerns highlighted in American Airlines reviews?

American Airlines' complaints center around lost baggage and customer service. Customers claim in their feedback that the company is more interested in money than travelers and that the app is difficult to use. 

When contacting the airline, customers have to spend 11 minutes 52 seconds on average to describe their issues. Still, only 13% of them could get answers to their questions and solve the problem. In fact, customers haven’t added any pros about American Airlines to PissedConsumer, only negatives. 

One American Airlines customer flies “internationally all the time” and has “never had a worse experience than with American Airlines.” Their issues stemmed from a canceled flight, a voucher for compensation, and more than “7 hours with customer service talking to agents, supervisors, and customer relations trying to get them to correct the error.” Finally, the customer stated:

Never ever use Airline Airline if you can avoid it as they have absolutely no regard for their customers. To compensate me for over $3,000 in additional costs I am facing directly because of them, they credited me 2,500 miles.

Allegiant Air complaints

7. Allegiant Air: Zero Customer Service

Allegiant Air logo

Allegiant Air Rating* –  1.9⭐⭐

Allegiant Air Reviews – 2.5K

Resolved Issues – 20

While not at the bottom of the list, Allegiant Air is still far from being one of the best airlines in the US. This airline is in the middle of the pack on just about every measure. So, what do Allegiant Air reviews reveal about the company? 

Allegiant Air rating

Allegiant Air has a rating of 1.9 stars out of a possible 5 stars based on more than 1,300 ranked Allegiant Air reviews. While only 5% of the Allegiant Air complaints have been resolved, 22% of customers would still likely recommend Allegiant Air to friends or colleagues. Pricing is often noted as a positive, but customer service leads the list of cons.

What are the top concerns highlighted in Allegiant Air reviews?

Among the issues customers have experienced with Allegiant Air, they have complained most about poor customer service, a lack of communication, canceled flights, a general sense of apathy, and poor handling of flights. 

As of November 2023, customers made 10,000 calls to the airline and spent 5 minutes and 42 seconds on average on the line. 14% of concerns were about cancellation of the flights, and 8% regarding returning or replacing the tickets. 

One angry customer wrote in their Allegiant Air review:

If it were possible to rate a company a zero for customer service, Allegiant Air would be an example of a company that has no interest in helping its customers. 

The main source of issues for this customer was “when the technology is glitching out, slow, and unable to accomplish” various basic tasks. 

United Airlines complaints

6. United Airlines: Just Bullying and Lying to Customers Again and Again

United Airlines logo

United Airlines Rating* –  2.0⭐⭐

United Airlines Reviews – 1.6K

Resolved Issues – 16

United Airlines offers a range of services, including basic economy with limited baggage and choices for a lower fee. What do United Airlines reviews reveal about the company? 

United Airlines rating

United Airlines reviews have left the company with a 2.0 rating of 5 stars. Overall, 32% of users would likely recommend United Airlines to a friend or colleague despite 77% of reviews being negative.

What are the top concerns highlighted in United Airlines reviews?

United Airlines has generated complaints from customers about a lack of humane treatment, terrible customer service, and high numbers of canceled or changed flights. Travelers are also unsatisfied with untrained employees and a general lack of communication. 

According to consumer reports on PissedConsumer.com, 64% of users believe that United Airlines needs to improve its customer service. And 50% of consumers say they might use the company again if it resolves their current issue.

One United Airlines customer described in the review how the company had canceled their flight and then asked customers to handle their own overnight arrangements:

They gave us a paper and promised to pay for your hotel a maximum of USD$200 and plus $30 for 2 meals.

 After the flight was delayed for a total of 30 hours, the customer was eventually told they would “credit me back $200 for my next flight.” This outraged the reviewer and made them feel like being robbed by United Airlines:

I just feel like I got robbed by them. They promised to reimburse me for the USD check instead of the certificate. They just keep telling lies to customers.

5. Sun Country Airlines: Missing Bags and Poor Customer Service

Sun Country Airlines logo

Sun Country Airlines Rating* –  2.0⭐⭐

Sun Country Airlines Reviews – 574

Resolved Issues – 2

Sun Country Airlines offers both airline and business services. This airline has fewer complaints than many other companies on this list thus far. What do Sun Country Airlines reviews reveal about the company? 

Sun Country Airlines rating

Sun Country Airlines reviews give the company a rating of 2.0 out of 5 stars. A full half, or 50% of customers, would likely recommend the airline to others despite 79% of total reviews being negative.

What are the top concerns highlighted in Sun Country Airlines reviews?

There have been 4,900 calls through PissedConsumer to Sun Country Airlines. Despite customers spending an average of 3 minutes and 7 seconds connected to customer service, only 7% of their issues were resolved.

Many Sun Country Airlines complaints centered around customer phone service and the refund policy. Customers also complained about delayed flights and poor communication. 

For example, one customer left a Sun Country Airlines review describing their unpleasant experience with the company regarding their luggage being sent to another city. The bag “ended up in Las Vegas” despite the customer paying $60 to check it in. Despite timely bag checking, the reviewer had to endure a two-hour hold on the phone only to be told:

I would not get a refund or reimbursement. They claim it was checked in late and no help! 

Alaska Airlines Complaints

4. Alaska Airlines: Don’t Trust the Online Billing

Alaska Airlines logo

Alaska Airlines Rating* –  2.1⭐⭐

Alaska Airlines Reviews – 252

Resolved Issues – 3

Centered out of the most northern of American states, Alaska Airlines flights to destinations across North America. The company shows improved features over many other airlines discussed earlier in this list. What insights do Alaska Airlines reviews offer about the company? 

Alaska Airlines rating

There are only 131 ranked Alaska Airlines reviews that gave the company 2.1 out of a possible 5 stars. Despite 74% negative reviews, 86% of users would recommend Alaska Airlines to a friend or colleague. This may be a reflection of individual issues rather than company-wide concerns for many customers.

What are the top concerns highlighted in Alaska Airlines reviews?

Alaska Airlines customers complain about the size of the planes offered by the company as well as feeling that tickets are overpriced. Additionally, travelers complain about rude employees, less than truthful business practices, and the company’s refund policies.

Even spending more than 12 minutes communicating with the customer service representative does not guarantee successful issue-solving. Based on consumer reports on Pissedonsumer.com, only 16% of their problems were solved. Most users ask Alaska Airlines for a refund to resolve their issues.

One Alaska Airlines customer experienced issues with the business practices firsthand when they were charged twice for one of their tickets:

so they took 2 payments of 218.00 from my bank acct right then. 2 days later i have another pending charge of 218.00. This caused an overrdraft, and a fee.

It resulted in preventing the customer from using the bank account for “food, gas, or my heart medications.” The customer warns 

Alaska will attempt to rip you off, if you don’t want them.

3. Delta Airlines: Never Believe What Delta Promises

Delta Airlines logo

Delta Airlines Rating* –  2.2⭐⭐

Delta Airlines Reviews – 2.5K

Resolved Issues – 27

Delta Airlines is a larger airline company, competing directly with other carriers in the United States. So, what is Delta’s ranking among other US airline rankings?

Delta Airlines rating

More than 900 ranked Delta Airlines reviews give the company a rating of 2.2 out of a possible 5 stars. While this rating is higher than other items on the list, only 34% of Delta Airlines users would recommend the company to a friend or colleague. 72% of the reviews about Delta Airlines are negative in scope. 

What are the top concerns highlighted in Delta Airlines reviews?

Most Delta Airlines complaints center around bad customer service and poor communication. Customers also call the company unreliable and claim there are honesty and reliability issues. Other issues include a lack of accessibility options, late planes without compensation, lazy crews, online portal glitches, and drastic flight changes. 

35% of users state they might use Delta Airlines in the future if it helps in resolving their issues. However, despite more than 13,900 calls to the airline recorded on the PissedConsumer platform, only 8% of customers succeeded in solving their problems.

One frustrated Delta Airlines customer noted that even purchasing a flexible round-trip ticket couldn’t protect from experiencing some issues. After receiving confirmations and check-in emails about the change of the destination city, the reviewer was told

…that my name was not on their flight manifest. I showed them the confirmation emails I received from Delta. They were surprised and they said I should contact Delta to resolve the issue.

Despite numerous attempts to contact Delta, the situation wasn't resolved, leading to additional expenses and a last-minute purchase of a new ticket - $12,000 to get back to the United States.

2. JetBlue Airways: Disgusting Lack of Communication

JetBlue Airways logo

JetBlue Airways Rating* –  2.2⭐⭐

JetBlue Airways Reviews – 2.1K

Resolved Issues – 28

JetBlue is one of the newest airlines in the United States, offering vacation packages, travel deals, and other vacation planning services. What insights do JetBlue Airways reviews offer to travelers?

JetBlue Airways rating

JetBlue Airways reviews have left the company with a rating of 2.3 out of a possible 5 stars. While this may seem close to neutral, overall, 68% of all JetBlue Airways reviews have skewed negative. 40% of JetBlue Airways customers would likely recommend the company to a colleague or friend, leaving the airline with mixed emotions. 

What are the top concerns highlighted in JetBlue Airways reviews?

The top complaints by customers about JetBlue Airways are like those of other airlines. Customers are frustrated by a lack of customer service, unexpected flight delays and interruptions, canceled flights without compensation, and poor treatment by staff members. Customers also noted that JetBlue Airways has dirty aircraft and some odd procedures as well. 

The percentage of those who will use its service again in the future is higher than that of some other airlines - 69%. Customer reviews also note that its price level is medium for most travelers.

In the JetBlue Airways complaint, one customer noted that their flight in the Dominican Republic “was delayed 12 times” creating a bit of chaos. As a result, their family was stuck in the airport for 31 hours. 

Southwest Airlines complaints

1. Southwest Airlines: Just Rude and Nasty

Southwest Airlines logo

Southwest Airlines Rating* –  2.4⭐⭐

Southwest Airlines Reviews – 808

Resolved Issues – 8

Southwest Airlines is unique among flight companies for its “cattle car” approach. Unlike other airlines, seats on Southwest are not reserved, making for a “first-come-first-served approach.” Could this be why Southwest Airlines tops our list as the best airline company in the US? What do Southwest Airlines reviews reveal about the company?

Southwest Airlines rating

Southwest Airlines reviews have given the company a rating of 2.4 out of a possible 5 stars. While 66% of the total reviews about Southwest Airlines skew negative, a significant majority of customers – 58% - would recommend the company to a friend or colleague, demonstrating why Southwest tops our list with the highest rating and highest votes of approval. Of course, a majority is not every. There are still plenty of Southwest Airlines complaints. 

What are the top concerns highlighted in Southwest Airlines reviews?

While many customers like the Southwest baggage policy and low prices, others complain about unprofessional employees, terrible service on the plane, rude customer service staff, lost luggage, and difficulty getting support when needed. 

According to customer reports on PissedConsumer.com, 18% of issues described during 2,600 calls to Southwest Airlines customer service were successfully resolved. 

One customer got a runaround by Southwest Airlines and complained that the airlines “stranded me in Vegas.” Despite multiple flight cancellations, misleading information, and unhelpful customer service, the airline left the passenger stranded in various locations. The reviewer was puzzled about Southwest customer service and its representatives:

These Southwest people are rude and crude and have no idea what they are telling people! Why do they feel they have to tell people things that aren't true?

The reviewer questions the airline's integrity and proclaimed 

Any airline this bad should not be allowed to fly.

How to Choose the Right Airline

Nobody wants to feel foolish or, worse, furious when trying to get from one place to another. Choosing the right airline is the first step to a smooth vacation or work trip. 

Consider the style of travel

There are several types of airline companies. Low or no-frills companies will have lower prices but won’t offer much in the way of comfort or luggage features. Airlines with open seating may not be ideal for families traveling together. Be sure to get the style of plane that best suits your needs. 

Read reviews

Learn from others who have had great experiences, and especially those who have had rotten ones. Real customer reviews will always give you great insight into how a company works. 

Use comparison tools 

There are many websites and comparison tools online to help sort through the many options when it comes to flights. Shift your plans a few hours or a few days to see the price difference. Check for baggage options and seating preferences. Play with the options to be sure you’re getting what you need when needed. 

When Airlines Get It Right…And When They Get It Wrong

While it would be ideal that every airplane trip goes smoothly without any issues, the reality is that things will go wrong. The real test is how well the airline handles the issues, smooths over the bumps, and ensures that all the customers get where they need to be. Have a great airline story to share? Or perhaps you’re still sorting out an air travel nightmare? You may write a review to share your experience with others. 

*The company ratings on the PissedConsumer website are calculated using a mathematical algorithm that evaluates the information in the company’s profile. The algorithm parameters are: users’ rating, the number of resolved issues, the number of company responses and more. The PissedConsumer algorithm is also subject to change in the future.

 

Legal disclaimers:

1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.

2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.

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James Blair #13155
United cancelled our return flight from Lisbon, but worse yet its agent booked us on the next days flight but later put others in our seats. We had to book another airline to get home!
Diane L Burks #13170
I found the rating for United Airlines disappointing. I have flown with them several times with no problems. The staff has always been friendly and helpful.
Stephen #13199
I had positive experiences when I traveled VIA Southwest Airlines. There was flight delay due to the weather one time, but I still made it back to Omaha only 20 minutes later than scheduled. Another time the last flight was delayed by 20 minutes, but landed in Omaha on time. My baggage was slow once, but I think this is because this plane made a landing at another airport when I was a passenger and remained on this plane until my arrival at my destination. My baggage was put on the plane before that of the other passengers that were on this plane. The long wait there was the only negative experience that I had other than not being able to sit with other family members on one flight in 2015. On this flight I sat near one member of my church. She was unable to sit next to her husband because they were one of the last people to board the plane and there only available seats were not next to each other.
Conway #13237
I fly Delta domestic and international several times a year. Have had no customer service issues. If people are having trouble, they should get the Delta app. Streamlines everything.
Linda Root #13247
I joked to friends that American Airlines was trying to kill me. Three international flights later, I wasn't joking anymore. I am a Eighty-Something female solo travel living in the high desert above Palm Springs to whom LAX is on another planet. My first trip as a widow was in 2016 and I flew British Airways out of San Diego to Edinburgh via Heathrow and then, a week later, on to Berlin, Business Class Plus without a major hitch. My next international flight was is 2020, when Covid was a factor, and at 81 years old and less adventurous, I flew American Business Class out of Palm Springs. Rude personnel, and the use of prearranged travel assist including a guy in Dallas who used the tram he was commanding as a lethal weapon was nothing until I boarded my transcontinental flight and waited well over an hour and a half for American to find a welder who could put the panel than fell from the airplane. back in place. I landed in Frankfurt having missed my connecting flight, but the flight crew had already arranged a replacement ticket and an escort, and the only problem getting to Berlin was the inherent unpleasantness of the Lufthansa staff. After two cancellations on my return flight 30 days later, and inefficient queuing in Berlin at the American Airlines Counter, and a heroic assist from my German-speaking son, I barely made my flight home and blamed it all on Covid-19. One year later I had become less forgiving, but game American one more whack at me on 2021, and it was worse. Because if the quagmire that is Dallas-Fort Worth, I flew out of Phoenix-Heathrow-Berlin on Economy Plus when my business class flight connections were cancelled. Somehow in Heathrow, American Airlines has misplaced the airplane. And when it was time for me to return, two days before my departure from a rural village in the woods of Brandenburg, my flight was cancelled and no comparable flight offered. And my flight credit did not come close to covering my homebound slight, which cost an extra 1200 over the credit and the stress of having to extend the boarding of my dog -but at least I was going home, with a connection on Air Lingus that was acceptable after a two hour wait at check-in to make it as far as the check-in counter. In 2022 on my final flight on American, my home flight convinced me never again to fly AA. After four hours of serial delays while on the tarmac in Dallas without food or water or explanation, we were ordered to deplane and herded to a construction zone at the far end of the terminal and waited while an different airplane arriving from somewhere in Asia was cleaned and checked. A somewhat hysterical member if the flight crew informed us that the AI on the previous flight had a psychotic break and thought it was already in the air over central Arizona. Another more than an hour was spent there in the construction zone of the airport, without the airline so much as offering us seating, water or coffee or an apology.A fellow female passenger and I tended to our seat partner who was serious disabled and the last person to deplane during the extended delay and made the best of it by telling jokes, but when we were finally in flight to Palm Springs, we had to argue with the flight attendant to allow me to switch seats with the woman who was unable to negotiate her way to the window. I landed in Palm Springs four hours late and swore I would never fly American again. In 2023, I flew United Airlines Business Class and the only problem was when the last leg from Frankfurt to Berlin on Lufthansa changed boarding gates but did not post the change, causing a huge crowd of people to miss their connecting flights, but my outbound flight was on schedule without a single problem. Next time I will find a route to Berlin on United Airlines or British Airways, avoid Lufthansa because they sacrifice customer care to operational efficienty, but at all costs, I shall avoid American Airlines.
AstonM #13261
Not surprised by the bad ratings for United. Booked a $3000 flight from Frankfurt to Newark in September 23 and my flat bed seat was broken. Had to sit completely upright for over 9 hours. Crew put in a case and promised compensation. United offered $250 and ignored my replies. Amex is working on a dispute which is still not final. United doesn’t care about loyal customers
Judy gonzales #13281
I flew delta short trips and very long trips. I have no idea what people are pissed about. The long trips they were so nice. Gave us hot wash rags to freshen up several times during the flight. Asked us if we needed anything several time. All around they did a great job.
Laura Sulzer #13291
US airways Cies are the worst in the world after Aeroflot in the 1980s (I can testify) and still some airlines from Africa. It is a shame for the US. I recently flew AA to go to the Caymans via Charlotte NC. The service on the domestic flight was awful. Stewardesses were very unhappy to work and their attitude was rogue. In first class.Without returning to the easiness of an air trip at the end of the 20th C, greed and lack of service have reached criminal proportions. The customers is not welcome and we know that their slogans such as “you are the only person who matters to us “are pure lies. It sounds fool and dishonest.The first things you hear on board is a loooong series of interdictions “for your safety” ( not always true) in order to cover the companies’ arses from lawsuits. Nightmare. I was not help at 64 to put my accompanied luggage in the above compartiment and was ordered with a total lack or respect by a stewardess to put my purse under the seat in front of me without being helped, been told hi, please, thank you. Their announcement at the microphone were so quick and the quality of the speakers so bad that you have no time to do all the ‘right” things. They should converted into prison guards which is a better qualification for their talents.