I must say I’m absolutely delighted to bring you the list of the 5 Shittest Airline Companies today! I LOVED naming and shaming these horrible companies – if any of their reps are reading – you have SHIT companies and you tried to FUCK my travels up – you gave me abuse, you tried to ruin my travels, rip me off and you almost made me miss my best mates’ wedding and you offered no apology or compensation!!
If you follow my blog and are upset by the blatant swearing in the title and in this article, then I do apologise for the profanities but there is anger within me typing these and these strong swear words are justified and necessary to get the point across – these really are 5 shit airline companies. I’m getting something off my chest while naming and shaming the 5 Shittest Airline Companies on the market. Please do yourselves a favour and avoid these ones. I’ve been on over 500 flights on my travels, and have had many ups and downs with flying, so it’s about time I write something about it. These companies are so shit, they need to be avoided. I’ve blacklisted them and you should knock them off too 😉
1. TACA AIRLINES (PERU BASED)
Taca Airlines are based in Peru. On my South American trip in 2010 – 2011, after doing the pulsatingly brilliant Inca Trail, I stupidly booked a flight with Taca because the flight was SO CHEAP. They are a real budget airline and I ended up booking a flight from Cuzco to Lima which would have been cheaper and faster than the bus at the time. It wasn’t so in the end. It was a fucking nightmare. Here’s an overview…
I arrived at the airport 3 hours before my flight and checked my bag in. I paid my departure tax, went through security and went for breakfast in a restaurant in Cuzco Airport. The restaurant was opposite a TV screen with all flights on it. Odd though that my flight NEVER once appeared on that screen. I was the only foreigner around and was travelling alone so I went and asked the security guy where my flight was. This was 20 minutes before the departure. He said he had heard that the flight hadn’t left Lima yet (where it was coming from). Great so I’m checked in on a flight that is supposed to leave in 20 minutes but the plane itself won’t be here for at least another two hours. Then I realised I had a connection that I couldn’t make if I was 3 hours late. My next flight was due to be Lima to Quito.
On the spur of the moment, I went back out through security and up to the Taca desk. Tacky Taca I called them. They said that they had no idea when my flight would be. Oh no problem I said as they have another flight in an hour doing the same route so put me on that one. Sorry, no can do it’s full. SO I Had to pay $200 US dollars on the spot to book a flight in 10 minutes time with another company. Not only that they tried to charge me twice for departure tax and Taca tried to claim I had already checked into their (non-existent) flight so couldn’t retrieve my bag. I got my bag back, flew to Lima and made my connection.
Taca are shit, I won’t ever use them again.
2. JETSTAR (budget airline owned by QANTAS, AUSTRALIA)
Despite initially loving their cheap kick-ass fares, Jetstar quickly proved their lack of customer service to me in 2011. I had started a new job and been lucky to be given a whopping THREE days off in my first month, just so I could fly all the way back to the UK to attend a wedding. One of my best mates as a child was Michael McClelland and so I wanted to be there in Belfast for his big day. It would also be my first time in Northern Ireland for some 800 days – my longest ever time away from my native land. So I booked 2 flights with Jet Star as it was just so cheap even with connections, I then booked another two flights with Air Asia and Easyjet meaning I could get home to Michael’s wedding, but would have 4 flights to take, a half day in Kuala Lumpur and a full day in Paris on route. Two cities I’d been to before, but hey I could see family and attend a wedding and keep my job as a school teacher in Hong Kong. All the flights were cheap. All looking good.
I arrived at Hong Kong airport at 5am ish and got to the boarding gate for my Jetstar flight, which was due to leave at 9am. My schedule would be Hong Kong – SIngapore with Jetstar (an hour to change flights), Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (6 hours in KL), Kuala Lumpur to Paris (12 hours in Paris) and then Paris to Belfast. I’d be arriving in Belfast on the second day, all on a decent budget and half the price of doing Hong Kong – London and London – Belfast. But the first Jetstar flight was delayed. OK no problem, I waited and waited and still no news (a few hours after it was due to take off) then I was allowed on the plane but only because I was sat in a certain row. Those passengers in other rows were told they couldn’t board the flight and would have to collect their luggage back and be re-booked on the later flight. The reason given was that they didn’t have enough cabin crew to man a full flight. I got on the plane, sat in my seat and thought I was lucky. I was informed they would make sure I would get on a Singapore to Kuala Lumpur flight later on and be on time for my long haul Air Asia flight from KL to Paris. After 45 minutes sitting on the Jetstar plane, we are told to get off again. Something about losing our runway take off time slot. Cue loads of mad customers. By this time I had missed two connecting flights from Singapore to Malaysia and had now lost the money on two flights. However my Kuala Lumpur flight was still about 6 – 7 hours away so I asked Jetstar to put me on their KL flight which was due to leave in an hour. No sorry – that flight is full. They tried to offer me a later flight to Singapore but I told them to fuck off. I had no intention of going to Singapore on this trip, it was merely a stop over as the flights were cheap. I now boycotted any plan to be in Singapore and wanted to be in KL. I had lost. Hours of arguing and as I was already through security etc. I had no way to book another flight. Even if I did manage to get internet/phone and book another flight, I’d still have to go back out through customs, immigration and security and check into a new flight. I had a Hong Kong exit stamp. But I had yet to exit Hong Kong. At that point I abandoned the idea of going to Michael’s wedding. I would explain the situation to him and I was at a low ebb. Michael will probably be reading this for the first time as I never told him the full story (nor would I have wanted to – especially not on his wedding day!!). Then my girlfriend phoned and asked if I wanted her to book me on the next Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur flight. I said yes, and after a lot of hullabaloo I ended up swearing profusely at the Jetstar representatives, telling him I was heading back out to get checked in for a rival company’s flight.
I got past security, got a nice lady to print off my new boarding pass, got another Hong Kong exit stamp and headed back to almost the same gate to board a brand new flight. I had paid about $200 for the new flight and had lost the money spent on the earlier flight. Jetstar offered NO FREE FOOD and NO COMPENSATION whatsoever. I haven’t used them since. Oh and my mate Michael got married and I was there. Guaranteed I had the worst trip to make it than anyone else at the wedding…great day though Mike 😉
3. AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS
OK so I’m including this company but they’re the best of this bad bunch to be honest – the onboard stewards were friendly and they eventually sorted me out. BUT here’s what they did during the only three flights I took with them:
– changed the time of my first flight THREE times
– changed the airport of my first flight (from Jorge Newberry to Ezeiza, Buenos Aires)
– cancelled one of my flights (the third flight)
– delayed the new flight they put me on (refusing to even give me a FREE COFFEE)
– and most ridiculous of all they later scheduled me onto a second flight which would leave before the first flight had landed. Their excuse for this was a computer error.
I got things sorted in the end with them, but I won’t use them again or recommend them.
4. CATHAY PACIFIC
They lost my bag in 2012 on a long haul flight from Hong Kong to Heathrow. When my bag didn’t arrive in Heathrow I had no time to waste as my connection to Belfast City Airport was in 55 minutes so I had no time to even complain. Again I have to thank my girlfriend who sourced my bag in the end. It was still in Hong Kong 3 days later and was found. Cathay Pacific offered NOTHING in compensation, but eventually delivered my bag (safe and sound) to my parents home where I was staying for a week.
They’re supposed to be a high quality airline. They’re not. Avoid them. I am still waiting on compensation from them, about 3 years later!
5. AIR ASIA
Where do I start – Air Asia are fucking atrocious! I have been on about 7 – 8 Air Asia flights down the years and they have never ever once been on time. They never offer you any kind of compensation and their customer service level is shocking. I can’t begin to say how much I despise Air Asia. Please take my advice and NEVER use them. My recent Air Asia experience in Hong Kong Airport was actually the catalyst for this blog post. Here’s a quick overview of what happened.
– I arrived at the airport and checked into my flight on time. It was a direct flight 20.05 pm Hong Kong to Kota Kinabalu. No mention of any ANY delay, so flight is on time then…
– Arrive at the departure gate to find that the flight STILL has no delay mentioned, yet the woman on the desk tells me I have time to buy a coffee (which I do) while we wait on news.
– I buy my coffee and come back to find a delay of almost 2 hours on the flight (OK with this – no problem as I don’t have a connection to make and the weather outside is brewing up a thunderstorm)
– The new scheduled departure time passes by and we still have no news. Word of mouth goes round that the plane we are due to fly on is still in the air. Great – well that means at least another 2 hours (it’s now getting near midnight so we’ll be flying on a different day)
– We find out the plane that was due to land in Hong Kong has now landed in Macau due to severe weather conditions (not such a big issue in fact but would be if you had a wedding to go to the next day)
– We are told our flight has been cancelled
– We are told the only compensation we can get is for them to pay towards a TAXI for us to head into the city and come back in the morning for the re-scheduled flight
– They have re-scheduled a flight for the next morning
– Oops again Air Asia – the re-scheduled flight on the next morning is leaving AFTER the flight to Kota Kinabalu that day (surely the original flight and the irate customers gets priority)
– We beg and beg for FREE food as compensation
– Why the hell would we get a taxi back into Hong Kong only to come back about 7-8 hours late for a flight (by the way they weren’t even offering a hotel either)
– We finally get 2 x 40 Hong Kong Dollar food vouchers each
– We are escorted back out through immigration and security and told we must re-collect our bags and check them in again!! (Hold on – we’ve already checked them in)
– We try in vain i n a few places to use these 40 Hong Kong Dollar vouchers. Nowhere accepts them.
– We try to sleep in the airport as there is now no real alternative
– Despite there being a few hotels at the airport (and comfortable lounges which won’t be full at night) we are refused a free night in a hotel or lounge (it reminded me of the contrast to my EXCELLENT experience with AeroSur in Bolivia – the same thing happened with the flight but they escorted us all by private minibus to a 4 star hotel in Santa Cruz de la Sierra to spend the night and had us on the first flight the next day – a great airline company by the way)
– The flight the next day is delayed twice and finally leaves, 15 hours after scheduled.
– The 15 hour delay meant some of the passengers had to cancel as they had weddings, functions and hikes booked for that particular day (similarly to my Jetstar shit experience)
– Air Asia are a shit airline company
*** NUMBER 6 – BONUS BALL!! – TUNIS AIR
You thought it was only 5 SHIT airlines, but I’m now delighted to add TUNIS AIR to the sh*t list. They are by far the worst of this group. When I arrived at the airport in Tunis, TUNISIA after celebrating my 100th country, they said my flight was FULL.
Then they wouldn’t let any of us check in. I was flying to Algiers in Algeria. They claimed they had overbooked the aeroplane. Great. My short time in Algeria was going to be cut even shorter. Then when they magically found a flight big enough (rude inept staff by the way), they wouldn’t let me check my big bag in. I hated this idea. They were rude to me. I had paid for my flight ages ago and now I was told to take my bag to Excess Baggage and that I had just 45 minutes to board my flight. F**king fantastic.
I get to the Excess Baggage and the rudest airport attendant of all time greets me. A Tunis Air wanker. He looks at my boarding pass and then tells me to put my backpack on the floor. Yes, on the floor not on the belt. I am immediately suspicious so myself and my girlfriend take numerous photos of my bag, the labels and me by the belt that I am not allowed to put my bag on. I race through departures only to find my flight is delayed by a further 2 hours now. At least by this stage the wanker should have put my bag through. I land in Algeria, and no sign of my bag – they tell me it didn’t arrive. Great. The next day I am flying again onward to Barcelona (due to ineptitude of the Algerian Visa officials in London I am on a transit visa). I arrive in Barcelona. Still no bag nor any explanation from TUNIS Air. I backpack through Spain for two weeks with the same clothes and bag and I smell disgusting. Tunis Air do not even contact me ONCE. I have to phone them and I clock up £100 worth of calls and up to £2000 worth of money owed due to problems from the lack of my backpack for the next month.
Eventually they send my backpack to Belfast City George Best Airport, so I then have to book another flight back there in the hope of picking it up! Crazy stuff. In short – Tunis Air still owe me £2000 and are refusing to even answer my calls and emails. I hope they go bankrupt. Avoid using them please.
So fellow travellers, please let me know what airline companies you think are terrible. This is my list of 6 shit airline companies, all from personal travel experiences. I won’t be booking with them again or recommending them. And a travel writer and blogger is exactly the person they don’t need to upset. As a person who has worked in the travel industry, the customer service industry and in Public Relations during my life, I’m fairly qualified and knowledge to know that these 5 shit airline companies suck. I worked on car ferries dealing with customers day in day out for 2 seasons (Sorry for the delay, here’s a free coffee), I have worked in countless bars and restaurants where the customer comes first. (Your beer isn’t good? No problem I’ll get you another one) and I know how to do Public Relations (I’ve done a year working with top brands in London and I’ve got a degree in the subject!!). I would like to mention that Aerosur (Bolivia), Ryanair (Ireland), Air Canada (Canada) and British Airways (England) have all been good airline companies to fly with.
I will be doing a few more negative posts in future as all my travel stuff just seems a bit too happy and we all know that a lifestyle of travel isn’t really like that! It’s a life of ups and downs and I want to give you the good and bad stuff from my journeys.
All comments welcome below – and please do yourselves a favour and AVOID THESE 6 SHIT AIRLINES!!!
A few videos of my airport problems with these 5 shit airline companies:
TRYING TO GET MY BAG BACK FROM TACA IN PERU:
AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS PROBLEMS AT USHUAIA AIRPORT:
AIR ASIA PROBLEMS: