United Airlines: The Company We Love to Hate


United Airlines (Stock Quote: UAUA) can't get any love. For much of this year, the company was lampooned in the media, thanks largely to a series of music videos by a customer frustrated after careless employees broke his expensive guitar during a flight. The video quickly went viral.

Even before that incident, though, United was considered by many to be the worst airline in the nation. It has been criticized for having a terrible reservation system, wretched flight attendants, and for disconnecting the phone line people use to complain about all these things. And most recently, in Smarter Travel's 2009 Readers Choice Awards, United ranked as the second least-favorite domestic airline, just barely losing the title to US Airways (Stock Quote: LCC).

Recently, though, United Airlines has been trying to make some serious improvements. USA Today noted that the company was attempting a "makeover" by ensuring that there are less flight delays and better customer service. On top of that, United announced last week that it would be buying dozens of new fuel-efficient planes by the end of next year.

United still has a lot of work left to do, perhaps starting with some consumer outreach. Case in point: there happens to be an entire site devoted to bashing the airline, called Untied. This site lists lawsuits, employee and customer complaints, and it highlights any article that points out how horrible the airline is.

However, there is one bright side for the carrier:  there's really nowhere to go but up.

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