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The 10 worst airlines in the world

Airlines differ in price, service, food and comfort, but which airlines should you not travel with?
Business Insider | 08.05.2012
Unlike the best airlines, which are all located in Asia, the world's worst airlines are scattered around the continents.

Zagat's airline survey identified three terrible airlines in China, four in Europe, along with our very own US Airways.

The only airlines that scored lower than US Airways were budget airlines like easyJet, Spirit and Ryanair and one company from Russia.

Note: Zagat describes a 0-9 rating as "poor-to-fair"; 10-15 as "fair-to-good"; 16-19 as "good-to-very good"; 20-25 as "very good-to-excellent"; and 26-30 as "excellent to perfect".

#10 Iberia

Overall: 11.49
Food: 10.56
Service: 12.15
Comfort: 11.75

Based in Madrid, Spain, this airline harbors a number of complaints about service.

Said reviewers on
"You get the impression they don't enjoy their jobs much."

"Incredibly uncomfortable seats, poor food, rude staff who just wanted to get the meal service out of the way so they could stand at the rear of the plane and chat amongst themselves. No seat-back TVs. The only good thing was a good in-flight magazine."

According to the survey, the food is not very good. The Zagat score for food was a mere 10.56 out of 30. (This is pretty high when compared to some of the other airlines that follow on this list).

In July 2010, British Airways announced a merger with Iberia. Hopefully, the merger will bring some much needed improvements on board.

#9 Egypt Air

Overall: 11.49
Food: 9.73

The biggest complaints for this airline is service from flight crew and comfort. People found service crew to be inattentive, the seats uncomfortable and plane bathrooms dirty.

Reviewers said:
"I would rather go via Moscow next time with any other airline because nothing could be as bad as EgyptAir. Dirty aircraft with disinterested crew. The toilets were filthy, food looked like leftovers from other airlines. The seating is exceptionally cramped and uncomfortable. And it wasn't cheap"

"I find the staff on EgyptAir lazy and unprofessional, who just try to get from one side of the Atlantic to the other without too much bother. I think they should lower their prices or up the quality of service with better trained staff."

#8 Air China

Overall: 11.43
Food: 10.26

Most people find fault with the condition of the old planes, cabins and seats. Additionally, passengers have issues with flight delays with no given explanation. The Zagat service score is 12.94; that may be due to the fact that many of the flight attendants do not understand English.

However, online reviews are a mixed bag. Some say because it is a budget airline, you get what you pay for. Others companies the food was bad or even that they served too much food on the flight.

#7 China Eastern Airlines

Overall: 11.05
Comfort: 11.59
Food: 8.40

China Eastern Airlines also is ranked one of the lowest for their company website. Travelers don't like this airline because of the shabby condition of its planes, cabins, restrooms and seats.

Another complaint is that flights are often delayed, rescheduled and often rerouted without notice, causing unnecessary hassle and stress for passengers.

#6 China Southern Airlines

Overall: 10.73
Service: 12.22
Food: 7.55

This airline has many shortcomings including poor service and food. The website also does not provide adequate information on tracking flights for people who are picking up travelers from the airport. Many also dislike their entertainment system for long flights.

Online reviews said:

"My experience on this occasion was very mediocre. Crammed flights, delayed boarding and thus arrivals, poor food, warm drinks, inadequate English language skills of crew (including nonsensical inflight announcements), non-reclining seats, IFE full of ads and not much else [...] All in all, quite an unpleasant series of flights. China Southern Airlines could really do much better, given the high passenger loads - and one would presume high revenue yield."

"Be careful to check and re-check your booking, as flight times can (and did) change without notice.
You can miss your flight very easily. Check-in MEL excellent. Inflight - no menus. You may be asked chicken or beef, but no menu to tell you what else there is. Entertainment consists of a drop down TVs which mainly run the same movie in a loop. After 9 hours, you've seen it many times. It is in Chinese without English subtitles."

#5 US Airways

Overall: 10.08
Comfort: 11.05
Service: 11.18
Food: 8.01

US Airways takes home low scores for poor check-in service, rude staff, uncomfortable seats and lack of good food on board.

Reviewers on

"This is the airline from hell. First, the airline could not fine my reservation when I checked in for my outbound San Francisco to Philadelphia leg. After 20 minutes they determined that "someone" had canceled it in spite of my confirming it on their website."

"The worst thing was the attitude of US airways staff and the lies they told us. I wouldn't touch them again with a barge pole"

"Most of the staff are rude and unfriendly and treat you like an inconvenience to their day. All in all a terrible experience. Never again."

#4 Areoflot Russian Airlines

Overall: 9.94
Food: 8.00

Most common complaints about this airline are about the airline's airport terminal in Moscow. Travelers were frustrated with the bus transfer to the gate, confusing terminal and the unfriendly staff. Not enough services are provided for the elderly and passengers with young children.

#3 easyJet

Overall: 8.44
Food: 4.07

Even though it may be a budget airline, this company leaves little to be desired with its disorganized service, haphazard boarding, overbooked flights. Many people find themselves checked-in at the gate only to realize the plane seats were full upon arrival.

Reviewers said:

"As everybody says, the cattle-herding stampede for the planes is undignified and surely unnecessary. It would cost the easyJet computer nothing to allocate seats and alleviate the impression one is fighting for a place on a bus that may be overfull."

"My biggest concern was the feeling of chaos inboard. The safety demo audio was played at a very low volume, and people were speaking on their mobile phones during the safety demonstration, cabin crew seemingly not giving a damn. The cabin crew were more interested in playing 100 variants of "Happy Birthday" through the intercom system as it was easyJet's 15th birthday."

#2 Spirit Airlines

Overall: 7.16
Comfort: 8.85
Service: 9.42
Food: 3.20

The biggest gripe about Spirit Airlines is its notorious policy of charging passengers for carry-on luggage. Additionally, poor service, an unkempt aircraft, and lack of food offerings on international flights left passengers with a bad taste for this airline.

Here's what reviewers on Yelp had to say:

"I don't care how cheap this airline is you pay dearly for it by loss of several hours in transfers, canceled flights, headaches, the WORST customer service and crappy planes. My trip from Lima, Peru to Boston was the biggest nightmare of my life next to getting all four of my wisdom teeth pulled while conscious."

"$45 for carry-on luggage. Geesh, robbing people as they board your airplane should really help your already abysmal tardy departure record. Great idea---nope!"

"The price seems right until you realize that they charge for everything, their agents are rude, and the flights are overbooked, late, not that clean, and just an awful experience. I got charged $45 for a small carry on.....THEY CHARGE FOR CARRY ON LUGGAGE!!"

#1 Ryanair

Overall: 4.16
Comfort: 5.14
Service: 5.18
Food: 2.15

Ryanair tops the worst list for poor service, delayed flights, last-minute fees, and pressure sales on board. The airline is infamous for selling scratch cards, overpriced concessions, bright advertisements on cabin interior and the Ryanair charity calendar, featuring the flight crew in swimwear.

Flights are as cheap as 6 euros, before the fees. The airline received a measly 2.15 for food because apparently they charge for everything.