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The World's Worst Airline Companies

Updated on June 18, 2012

As a frequent long-distance traveler, I have had quite a few horrifying, shocking and incredible experiences with airline companies around the world. Airplanes are not my favorite means of transport but when it comes to traveling long-distances, I am not left with a lot of choices. When I was a kid, I loved flying and I wasn’t worried so much about if something could happen. But as I got older, I became aware of the risks of flying and my feelings started to change.

My Experience with Aerolineas Argentinas

I had my first horrifying experience with Aerolíneas Argentinas when I was flying to Argentina for the first time. I wanted to buy the cheapest flight possible so I bought a flight to Rome with a connecting flight to Buenos Aires. When I got to Rome I discovered that there was a 7 hour delay because the aircraft that would take us to South America hadn’t arrived yet from Buenos Aires. If it had been 8 hours, the airline company would have provided us with a hotel room. 7 hours was not enough, however. I remember there were many native Argentineans going back to their home country and they didn’t even complain about the circumstances. That is the first thing I learned about Argentineans back then. They are patient and they don’t complain as much as Germans do, even though their lives are 5 times harder. The reason for their patience is that they are used to bad services, machines or devices being out of order etc. I think in my last 2.5 years in Argentina, I experienced 7 power outages and 4 times without fresh water coming out of the tap. Call centers in Argentina are a true disaster and the banks’ services leave much to be desired. If you need someone to repair something in your house, they either come late or don’t show up at all. And if they do show up and it seems like they fixed the damage you will discover three weeks later that it is broken again. They fix things temporarily and I think it is even on purpose as this will require another repair which will cost more money. We had a plumber come to our house to fix our toilet flush, which does not integrate advanced technology and should be easy to fix. I think the plumber had to come 3 times to fix it. And in the end my boyfriend started fixing it on his own to save the money we wasted on this plumber. This is why Argentineans don’t complain. They are used to delays and bad services. As much as I love Argentina and its people and their kindness and helpfulness, which I cannot expect from any German, these are things that cannot be denied and every Argentinean would agree with me.

The flight was pretty calm but when the aircraft started landing, the horror began. The airplane started shaking and dropped down several times like a rock. I could see that outside it was raining and the rain was running along the window. People screamed as the airplane shook and some people cried including myself. I was holding an Italian woman’s hand who was sitting beside me, hoping that I could survive this rollercoaster landing. When the airplane dropped down, I really thought I was going to die. It was the worst experience I ever had and I have never flown with Argentina ever since.

Airline: Aerolineas Argentinas

Route: From Rome to Buenos Aires

My rating from 1-10: 3

My Experience with Pluna

My second worst experience was with Pluna, the national Uruguayan airline company. I have had some good experiences with this airline and what I like particularly about them is that they have never had an accident involving passengers. That takes some of my fear when I fly with them.

However, I was returning to Buenos Aires from Rio, where I had spent Christmas with my Brazilian boyfriend’s family. We would be flying to Montevideo, Uruguay and from there back to Buenos Aires.

When we got to Montevideo, we didn’t see our connecting flight on the screens. It took us about 2 hours to find out what would happen with our connecting flight. The employees didn’T seem to know themselves. When they finally found out that there would be a delay of 7 hours, they provided us with a meal ticket which included a drink, two Empanadas (a bread or pastry filled with meat and/or cheese and vegetables which is baked or fried and eaten in many countries in Western Europe, Latin America, and parts of Southeast Asia. ) and an Alfajor (a desert shaped like a small hamburger that contains the famous Dulce de Leche and is consumed in parts of Spain and in some regions in Latin America such as Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Mexico). We hadn’t had lunch that day and we were really hungry. Two empanadas were hardly gonna feed us. Apart from that, they only offered empanadas containing meat. I am a vegetarian which left me with nothing but an Alfajor. So I had to buy an expensive vegetarian sandwich at the Montevideo airport and of course this was not covered by the meal ticket.

The flights were always very calm though and I can say I enjoy flying with Pluna. I know I have to be prepared now and I never expect too much in the continent that is obsessed with meat.

Airline: Pluna

Route: From Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo and from Montevideo to Buenos Aires

My rating from 1-10: 5

Gol - Brazilian Airline Company

My Experience with Gol

Now I will tell you about an experience a friend of mine had with the Brazilian airline company Gol. His mom was visiting him from Rio de Janeiro and she was coming alone. As my friend’s mom is sick and suffers from Alzheimer, my friend had booked an escort who would accompany her on the flight until she would meet my friend at the airport in Buenos Aires. My friend’s family and my friend and I were assured that everything was going to turn out fine. I was in Europe at the time when I got an email from my friend saying he could not find his mom at the airport and no one could tell him where his mom is. She had disappeared. A 65-year old woman suffering from Alzheimer was lost in a foreign country where she didn’t speak the language. When I heard that she was lost, I nearly got a heart attack. I thought this was going to end very badly. It turned out that she was found by a police officer in downtown Buenos Aires with 600 pesos less. A taxi ride from the airport to downtown Buenos Aires would never cost that much and it was clear that the taxi driver had stolen the money from her. Luckily, my friend’s mom had a phone number of a contact person in Buenos Aires with her and the police officer helped her dial the number of the person she knew. The contact person contacted my friend who was reunited with his mom at the end of the day. He told me it was one of the worst days of his life. I am glad it did not turn out worse. We learned one thing though. Gol is definitely not the airline company to choose if you plan on booking an escort service for old people or children.

Airline: Gol

Route: From Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires

My rating from 1-10: 1

My Favorite Airline Company: Lufthansa

My favorite airline company is without any doubt Lufthansa. Their plane tickets are so much more expensive than the ones offered by their competitors but the price is absolutely worth it. The service is great, the food is delicious and the airline company offers a great entertainment program including movies, TV shows and radio programs. Internet addicts like me can even use the internet during long-distance flights. The only downside is that you need to pay for the internet.

As I was extremely satisfied with the Lufthansa service, I did some research on this German airline company and found out that they are constantly improving their technology, like reducing noise and fuel emissions, optimizing flight procedures and testing and using biosynthetic kerosene on some routes. I loved to read that as I am an absolute fan of eco-friendly companies and whenever possible, I try to purchase organic, fair trade or local products to do my part.

Airline: Lufthansa

Route: From Buenos Aires to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt to Buenos Aires

My rating from 1-10: 9

I have flown with other airline companies but not frequently enough to be able to judge their service. I am sure there are other airlines out there that do a good job and I would love for you to share your own experiences with me so feel free to comment!


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    • Jennifer Madison profile image

      Jennifer Madison 5 years ago from Lohmar

      at least the one I flew with, but I am sure the others are not better if you look at how the country is working right now

    • profile image

      Douglas Fernandes 5 years ago

      Empresas Argentinas são uma MERDA! No doubt !

    • profile image

      KretinaK 5 years ago

      Argentina used to have the best beef in the world, but since the Kirchners have been in power, the beef industry has been completely destroyed. Nobody should eat the poor quality and polluted beef, it's not fit for human consumption. Argentine beef loaded with hormones, drugs and chemicals that have been outlawed in the USA and Europe and they have been known to ship rotten beef for export after it's been washed with bleach and ammonia, injected with formaldehyde and red food coloring.

      Argentine lemons are sprayed with toxic, dangerous cancer and nerve damage causing chemicals and injected with artificial yellow coloring. The soil in Argentina is so depleted of minerals in that lemons grow white on trees and have no flavor.

      Industrial products - tools, automobiles, machinery & appliances from Argentina are the worst, poorest quality in the world. Even the chinese won't buy them. No industrial standard, the lowest quality raw materials, no testing is done before they are shipped. This has caused serious injuries by unsafe products, many people have been electrocuted by Argentine washing machines & hot water heaters that leave the factory with short circuits.

      All countries should completely avoid ALL Argentine products permanently.

      Very scary news about Argentina signing a military cooperation agreement with Venezuela, they are looking to start a war.

      And the new “militant” movement that Kirchners are starting that make “La Cámpora” look like a group of kids in nursery school? It's called “Vatayon”, a Kirchner backed group that goes into prisons of Argentina to recruit supporters for their political movement!!/vatayonmilitante

    • profile image

      Antonio 5 years ago

      Delta was awesome..but the last time I flew with them was 31 years ago so...American was very good, the pilot on my lats flight was a woman and it was the best flight of my life. Be aware of a couple of FA's at AA through...Lufthansa, British Airways, Lan, Aeromexico, Copa and Aerolineas Argentinas are all excellent, nd so are Qantas and Air NZ

    • yoginijoy profile image

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Did you ever fly on Lan? I did a few years back from JFK to Lima and it was phenomenal. I have had family swear by Lufthansa as well. Great information. I will remember it. Take care!

    • Jennifer Madison profile image

      Jennifer Madison 5 years ago from Lohmar

      I heard about the Lufthansa booking problems as well actually! And usually the customer is the one with the problem when something like this happens. So definitely a minus point for Lufthansa

    • Heather Jacobs profile image

      Heather Jacobs 5 years ago

      I love lufthansa too! They really do have good service.

      The only thing they need to improve upon is their booking system when you change a flight after you have already booked it. I was flying from Munich to Hamburg and had to change my flight to a different day so I called them and arranged it. When I got there they lady behind the desk said I didn't have a ticket. When I explained that I had changed it, she said that she didn't see the booking and demanded what I wanted her to do about it. She wasn't even interested in helping me after that, so I eventually had to locate a manager who confirmed that I did have a booking. Since then several of my friends have complained about the problems with changing a booking with Lufthansa too.

      Again, though, everything else about flying with them is fantastic.