US Airways, a giant American airline carrier and likely one of the largest carriers on this list, has long had a reputation for low-quality flights and customer service and lost luggage. The company’s global on-time performance is poor with an average of 75.34% in the first quarter of 2015 and a low of 73.15% on-time in February. The company has a huge stigma that they will lose your bags as per the US Department of Transportation were 2.7 claims per 1,000 customers according to the most recent stats. The good news is that US Airways seems to be making a huge effort to turn things around, albeit the improvement is limited.
Frontier is a small American carrier based out of Denver Colorado. Frontier was a well-regarded airline years ago, and famous for the animals it displays on the tail of the plane. But they are only given a 2 star rating nowadays given the waiting time, customer support service and boarding service efficiency. They actually only received 1.5 star for delays and cancellations.
United Airlines is a large American carrier that has built a reputation for poor customer service. One of the worst complains against the company is that there have been cases of passengers being left on the tarmac waiting for several hours. This reputation got so bad that in late 2013 the US Department of Transportation levied a fine against the airline of over $1 million for this offence. The on-time performance is average of 75.39% with a low figure of 72.96% in February. Besides, lost luggage is also a problem with a reported 3.66 claims per 1,000 customers according to the US Department of Transportation’s late stats.
Tigerair, originally Tiger Airways, is a Singapore-born low-cost carrier that was meant to be Asia’s equivalent to Ryanair (European carrier mentioned later). They started in Singapore and Asia, and expended to Australia in 2007. They are widely considered sub-par in both markets given the poor customer service and cheap products, and they have embraced this reputation as a publicity stunt to show their ultra low airfare prices. They might be attempting to get a better reputation as they renamed from Tiger Airways to Tigerair in 2013, but there is a lot more to do than a name change to get off the worst airlines list.
EasyJet is a member of the infamous gathering of European low-budget airlines. No one expects luxuries with a budget carrier, but that doesn’t mean flyers should have to sacrifice service quality just to get a good deal. This UK based EasyJet exactly goes out of its way to convince passengers never to buy another ticket. EasyJet only received 2stars or lower in the Skytrax quality rating. Customers complain a lot in the areas of in-flight entertainment, handing delays/cancellations, in-flight service information, and arrival assistance.
If you are the kind of person who values timeliness, Pakistan International Airlines seems not to be a good choice for you. In 2015 so far, their on-time performance average is 37.53%. The figure is shockingly bad, especially when you consider that they only fly around 3,000 flights per month compared to a major carrier like US Airways who operates nearly 90,000 flights a month. Besides, they also get poor marks in some important areas like check-in services, arrival assistance, transfer services and staff language skills.
Dublin Ireland based company RyanAir isn’t just a budget airline it’s an ultra-budget airline. They’ve taken the phrase “you get what you pay for” to the extreme. They provide customers with very cheap fares and a cheap product as well. They offer cheap fares and a cheap product as well, but as a result customer experience is very atrocious. RyanAir has popularized the “flying cattle car” approach to air travel. They try to do anything that can be done to cut costs. The seats are arranged to be closer, and there are no seatback pockets and seats even can not recline. They have even got rid of extra bathrooms for more seats. You’d better think twice before you to buy these “ultra-cheap” tickets!
Shanghai-based carrier China Eastern Airlines is another budget airline with service worse than its price. Especially if you can’t stand delays, you’d better avoid choosing China Eastern Airlines whose average on-time performance is about 50% in 2015. The figure is not only bad, but is worsened by the fact that they fly 50,000 flights a month… that means 25,000 flights are late a month. Take a look at some reviews on sites like Yelp, there are a lot of complaints about China Eastern Airlines for the low-quality product and almost non-existent customer service.
Established in 1999, Lion Air is an Asian giant. Jakarta, Indonesia-based carrier Lion Air is one of the biggest airlines in Asia and the largest low-cost airline with service to Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sandi Arabia, mainland China and Hong Kong. In 2011, Lion Air was forced to ground flights until they could achieve an on-time rating of 80%. In fact, it has been plagued with problems beyond just like chronic delays and lost baggage. In 2012, multiple pilots and crew members being found and tested positive for Crystal Meth usage. Fly Lion Air at you own risk!
Established in 2008, SmartWings is another European low-cost carrier based out of Prague, Czech Republic. They are owned by parent company Travel Service Airline. A look at many reviews of this airline, complaints go way beyond just lost baggage and on-time performance. The fairs are deceptively low with many hidden fees that are unavoidable and the airline even spontaneously canceled flights a week before departure with no options to re-book. SmartWings only received a 2 star overall rating according to Skytrax ratings.
Spirit is the only 2-star airline operating in the America on this list. This low-cost airline is infamous for its outrageous fees and its strict no-refund policy, which could backfire eventually. Many customers complain about the surprise fees for luggage and pretty much anything else. When you buy a ticket on Spirit, it means that you pay for literally just the seat and everything else costs extra. Skytrax gave them a very poor rating in pretty much every category.
Based in Kathmandu, Nepal Airlines is a tiny carrier with only 7 working airplanes in their fleet. Skytrax only gave Nepal Airlines a 2 star overall rating for the quality of product and service and only 1 star in areas such as bathrooms, boarding, in-flight entertainment and even the companies website. This is clear when taking a look at their on-time performance with an average figure of around 30% in 2015. Besides, they were banned from flying within the EU in 2013.
Pegasus Airlines is a low-cost budget carrier and is the second largest airline in Turkey. It was named the cheapest low-cost European airline in both 2013 and 2014. However, these low costs come at a price. They get poor marks on Skytrax in too many areas to list. For example, the standard of customer support service, handling delays/cancellations, in-flight entertainment and staff language skills all these areas received below 2 stars according to Skytrax rating.
Founded in 2002, Bulgaria Air is a relatively new carrier. Though most of the carriers on this list we have focused on poor customer service and product quality, the most important thing about flying is the safety. Based out of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, Bulgaria Air has restrictions on of flying in US air airspace because of their lax safety policies. They have numerous incidents where this carrier has had aircraft skid off the runway. Skytrax ratings gave the airline a 2 star overall rating. Taking a Bulgaria Air ticket is absolutely fly at your own risk.
The North Korean state-owned carrier is an easy pick for the No. 1 worst airline in the world. Air Koryo is the ONLY airline carrier to receive a 1 star overall rating from Skytrax, and that is say something. Check-in service, arrival assistance, transfer service, comfort, Language skills and many other categories, all these areas are rated individually at 1 star by customers. Besides, Air Koryo was banned from flying in the EU airspace duet to poor safety and maintenance concerns from 2006. After much debate, in 2010, they were allowed to fly one certain model of aircraft (Tu–204s) within EU airspace after improved safety features while other models remained banned.