Airline fees and cramped seats are top complaints of air travelers, according to a Consumer Reports survey that also found fliers rating Southwest Airlines as the best carrier and US Airways as the worst.
The results, released Tuesday, were based on a survey of 14,861 Consumer Reports readers who flew between January 2010 and January 2011. Although they “might not reflect the U.S. population as a whole,” the magazine acknowledged, the results of its first airline survey since 2007 were intriguing.
Among the findings:
-- 40% of readers who said they flew less these days blamed increased fees as the major reason. Far fewer blamed flight delays, poor service or any other problem. Disclosure of fees was a problem for many; 41% said overweight-bag fees “came as a surprise”; 22% said carry-on bag fees had surprised them.
-- Eight of the 10 major airlines in the survey received low scores for seat comfort. JetBlue got the top marks for seat comfort; Southwest ranked No. 2 on that score.