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Why You Should Avoid United Airlines

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This is The Savvy Traveler, I'm Rudy Maxa. The time has come to say a few discouraging words about United Airlines. For nearly four months, United has been locked in a quiet struggle with its pilots, many of whom are refusing to work overtime as contract negotiations approach. That's meant the airline has had to cancel and reshuffle a lot of flights. Like my June flight from L.A. to Paris that left five hours late. Which looked good compared to my July flight from D.C. to Frankfurt that was delayed 26 hours!

Now, if my stories were unusual, I wouldn't mention them. But United's schedule is a disaster. Barely half of the airlines' flights arrive on time, according to Transportation Department figures. Some never even take off! The mess comes at a bad time for the airline, as it tries to convince federal regulators the country will be better off if it buys US Airways.

Until United solves its labor woes, research alternate carriers if you absolutely, positively have to arrive on time. If you do fly United, insist on a paper ticket, not an electronic one. That'll save you a lot of time if you have to be switched to another airline. United is too big a player to keep this up. We can only hope for a resolution soon.

On a happier subject, join our voyage this week and let's find some respite in the Caribbean.


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