Airline complaint one-upmanship is an old standby of small talk—“You had to wait six hours at the gate? That’s nothing! I was wedged between two linebackers and the in-flight movie was the latest from Larry the Cable Guy.” But is air travel really this bad? Travelers seem to think so. One measure finds that customer satisfaction with airlines is at its lowest point in three years; and the 2008 Airline Quality Rating, an aggregation of consumer complaints to the Department of Transportation, reports that complaints were up 60 percent since 2007.
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