LAX travelers frustrated with airlines

LOS ANGELES A customer satisfaction survey reports that last year the number of air travelers outraged with how they were treated and inconvenienced by airlines shot up by 60 percent.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Leo Stallworth's report from the LAX, including interviews with frustrated travelers.

The annual Airline Quality Rating survey found that more bags were lost, more passengers were bumped, more consumers complained and fewer flights arrived on-time than in the previous year.

In all, complaints were up for 15 of the 16 biggest airlines.

"Customer service at the airlines is getting worse by the hour," said Julio Marenko, air traveler.

Marenko says that when he inquired about a mix-up he had between United and U.S. Airways at LAX a supervisor rudely brushed him off.

"You know the supervisor at the end told me to talk to the hand and she turned around. I was shocked," said Marenko.

Most people at LAX Monday were frustrated by the lack of customer service.

"I used one of those online services to buy a ticket and then the airline of course cancels the flight. Nobody tells you about it and then you find out hours right before the flight," said Michael McCarley, air traveler.

"My flight got cancelled and I missed my connection. I ended up having to stay overnight in Atlanta. I hoping this time around it is going to go a little bit smoother. They did loose my luggage too," said Ann McLaughlin, air traveler.

U.S. Airways is at the top of the complaint list. Southwest is at the bottom with the fewest flight delays. Eighty percent of their flights arrive on time.

The study found that overall on time arrivals dropped for the fifth straight year.

The survey comes at a difficult time for the industry given rising fuel prices, safety problems and bankruptcy troubles that shut down three carriers last week. ATA, Aloha Airlines and Skybus stopped flying because of financial pressures.

Some American Airlines customers at LAX Monday complained about some delays. The inconvenience surrounds a repaving project that began three weeks ago for a taxiway that is between the Tom Bradley Terminal and Terminal 4.

It has caused the airlines passengers to be bused to a remote terminal to catch and get off flights.

"I left my hotel this morning and when I arrived I was told the flight had been cancelled. I had to wait five hours again for the next flight," said Elizabeth Slater, air traveler.

Major airlines also have slashed jobs while adding fees for second bags, traveling with pets and booking tickets by phone.

Eyewitness News reporter Leo Stallworth and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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