Cramped seats, bad food, poor entertainment options and flight delays are never attractive options, but they become even less so when you’re stuck for hours on an international flight. We here at Swift reviewed various sources to give you the lowdown on the worst airlines for international travel.
Worst for Lateness
Airline delays are always a hassle, and Travel + Leisure compiled a list from the most recent available Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which outline on-time performance over the 12 month span ending in January 2014.
- Frontier: 27.64 percent of the flights were late
- JetBlue: 27.34 percent of the flights were late
- Southwest: 25.06 percent of the flights were late
Worst for Legroom and Seat Perks
Long-haul flights can seem even longer if you’re smashed in a cramped seat with little legroom. You can even compound the discomfort if your seat leaves you with no power options for your electronics and limited entertainment options. We hand-picked the most dismal offerings based on info from Seat Guru, in both economy and business class.
Worst Economy Class Seats
- American Airlines: Get stuck on the most cramped seats of the airline’s Boeing 767-300 and you’ll have only 31 inches between rows and a seat width of 17.2 inches. Your seat features no power options, the aircraft doesn’t offer Wi-Fi and your only on-flight video option is the overhead TV.
- United Airlines: A narrow, 17-inch seat can be yours on the airline’s Boeing 747-400, again with 31 inches between rows. Here you may actually have an AC power option and Wi-Fi. But you’re still stuck with an overhead TV.
Worst Business Class Seats
- US Airways: The airline’s Boeing 757-200 offers some of the stingiest business class seats around, with a width of 19.5 inches and 60 inches between the rows. You can recline in the seats, but not lie fully flat. Your seat will either offer on-demand TV or a seatback TV, you’ll be stuck with DC power rather than standard AC power, and you’ll have no Wi-Fi option.
- American Airlines: You’ll get 60 inches between rows and a 20-inch seat width on the Boeing 767-300, but at least you’ll get AC power and a flat bed seat that lies totally flat. Portable devices are your entertainment option, but you still don’t get Wi-Fi.
Worst Overall Ratings
Customer reviews on SkyTrax take the entire flight experience into account, ranking airlines based on food and beverages, inflight entertainment, seat comfort, staff service and value for the money. Sadly enough, a rating of 4 or 5 out of 10 is pretty high for US-based carriers, with the overall worst airlines for international travel outlined below.
- Frontier: 2 out of 10, especially low in the meal and entertainment categories
- United Airlines: 3 out of 10, pretty solid 2 ratings across the board in all categories
- US Airways: 3 out of 10, ranking lowest in the entertainment arena
Researching your airlines before you plop down for the long haul is always a good idea, as is staying up to date with the latest business travel news with help from Swift.