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Top 5 worst airlines in the world

Everybody has their favourite airlines with whom they have amazing positive experiences. But what about those airlines that consistently provide poor service and have bad reputations? Here I go through 5 airlines that I personally have an issue with.

A340 taxiing at Sydney

A340 taxiing at Sydney

5. Virgin Atlantic

Having had the misfortune to fly ‘across the pond’ to Florida on 3 occasions with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick (every time on a B747), I can safely say that Virgin are not among the best airlines in the world – and that’s an understatement. They have very simple service, with a drinks run being offered immediately after takeoff, and then…NOTHING. No more drinks at all throughout the flight. This is a very basic, penny-pinching tactic that you would not expect of an airline that seems to spend so much in advertising and self-promotion. Of course, you can get up and ask for a drink if you want (they sometimes reply that they have “run out” of what you ask for), but this is a lack of service quality that Asian and some Middle-Eastern carriers would never be seen dead allowing to creep into their cabins.


4. Egyptair

I’ve flown twice with Egyptair, once on a flight from Cairo to Rome, and once on a fifth freedom flight between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. On both occasions I have been less than impressed. Neither of the planes offered any kind of PTV, only a drop-down TV in the centre of the cabin with subtitled documentaries. The catering on Egyptair is also a let down, with the food being well-nigh inedible.


3. Alitalia

One solitary narrow-body flight from Rome to London is all I needed to realise that I wouldn’t be flying with troubled airline Alitalia again. A member of the cabin crew spilt a drink on me during the meal service and proceeded to laugh at my misfortune! Fortunately a more senior member of the team took the situation seriously and gave me a few towels with which to dry myself. Alitalia also have a bad reputation within Europe for punctuality and cancellations.


2. Air Koryo

Not many people have flown with Air Koryo, and neither have I, so really my inclusion of this airline is a bit of a cheek, but I am basing it on the opinions of friends who have made trips from Beijing to Pyongyang. Before and after the flight you are forced to watch propaganda of the North Korean Government, and there is no in-flight entertainment to speak of. The aircraft used by Air Koryo are also antiquated and barely air-worthy.


1. Air India

Absolutely the worst airline I have ever flown with, and I know many people who would say the same thing. One thing I love about Air India is its lovely cabin crew. They try very hard and are always so friendly; they represent their People and nation proudly. However, that’s where the compliments for Air India stop, I’m afraid. The planesĀ I have flown in (two international flights, and one jam-packed domestic flight from Delhi to Mumbai) have been dirty and not cleaned properly. There was still mess on the tray tables that hadn’t even been wiped! I found old sweet wrappers in the seatback pockets – and the in flight entertainment didn’t work on my PTV in economy class on a 7 hour flight. Air India also have a terrible record with punctuality and reliability, and are becoming something of a joke because of this record; every time I look at a departure screen in an airport (say, Singapore Changi), I always notice that an Air India flight has been cancelled. Once at Indira Gandhi Airport on my way to Mumbai, I was delayed for 7 hours and there was no information being relayed by the ground staff! Clueless! I love the Indian people, and I love the Indian country. Just a shame they have such a rubbish airline.

N.B. This list is based on my own personal experiences, and represent my own personal opinions. I understand that everybody will have their own opinion on the matter, and nobody’s opinion is more important than others.

What has been the worst airline experience you have had the misfortune to suffer? Please let me know in the comments below! And please check back for new a Top 5 List every Wednesday!

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11 comments on “Top 5 worst airlines in the world

  1. ali
    August 27, 2014

    U forgot Iran airlines ..
    They are all death machine .
    All their plane is more than 30 years old
    And as official says more than 2.000 people dead in plane crashes in past 10 years .

    I flight with them twice and it’s scariest experience ever … Sooooo dirty and all things broken and not working include plane ..

    (It’s all because of sanction Iran face that can’t buy any airplane or even repair planes .

    And among politicians fights it’s innocent civilian who get killed )

    • backpackerlee
      August 28, 2014

      I have never flown with Iran Airlines. I imagine they must be pretty bad, and I think they do have some very old B747s which cannot be very air-worthy these days.

  2. bnbhanoi
    August 27, 2014

    look on the bright side, Air india prepares you in advance, great people, late trains and busses and a bit messy, but lovely all the same. I’m voting for Air Koryo, never flown with them, but being forced to watch their propaganda videos is the best/worst I’ve ever heard of, I doubt any other air line can top that for being ridiculous. thanks for the report.

    • backpackerlee
      August 28, 2014

      You are certainly right about Air Koryo! Absolute rubbish! But with Air India, even though their cabin crew is usually nice, I just find the whole company to be incompetent!

  3. Pingback: What’s the point of Virgin Atlantic? | backpackerlee

  4. miesby
    August 28, 2014

    What a coincidence! The one and only time I flew Air India (from New Delhi to Shanghai), my television also did not work. It was a very sad experience. The next time I went to India I took Emirates … SUCH A DIFFERENCE!

    • backpackerlee
      August 28, 2014

      I have also flown Emirates to India. It is a good choice. I will never fly with Air India again. Shame about your PTV. :(

  5. Packing my Suitcase
    August 28, 2014

    Im sorry about your bad experiences :( it happens I guess, with all of us!! Of all the 5 I’ve only flown with Alitalia and it wasnt that bad. The worse one ever for me was Ryanair… NEVER again, even if the ticket is for free!!

    • backpackerlee
      August 28, 2014

      Oh yeah, Ryanair are bad! Very cheap, but very very bad! The owner of Ryanair has been trying to get rid of seatbelts in his planes because they take up too much weight! He says that in a crash, the seatbelts wont save you anyway, so what’s the point of having them. I will never fly with Ryanair!

      • Packing my Suitcase
        August 29, 2014

        OMG are you serious? Thats pretty bad!!! Yeah NEVER EVER fly with them….when I did I felt that the plane would fall any time and they wouldnt stop selling you crappy things on board, like bingos and stuff like that! :(

  6. sakshi_prak
    August 29, 2014

    I’ve only travelled with Air India from your list and agree with your opinion. In fact sometimes I feel the staff is too proud to treat people with courtesy :-P

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2014 by in Aviation, Top 5 Lists and tagged , .

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