Round 44: US Air vs Microsoft

This is Round 44 in our Worst Company in America contest, US Air vs Microsoft!Here’s what readers said in previous rounds about why they hate these two companies…

US Air:

“They are the worst of the worst among one of the worst industries in America.”

“US Airways is just sad. I have a friend who had been with America West since its inception, who is deeply unhappy at how bad things are now. He can’t understand how, in the merger, US Airways’ business model and policies prevailed over those of AW. Supposedly AW was doing well financially at the time, and customers were pretty happy with the airline.”

“Airlines seem to have been waging a war of attrition on the whole idea of customer service for the last 20 or 30 years. When it gets to the point that it’s less painful to take two days to drive across the country with all of horrors of inflated gas prices, fast food, nothing on the radio but Rush Limbaugh and country music, and the state of Nebraska, you know something is terribly, terribly wrong.”

“I would rather have a colonoscopy than deal with US Airlines!
Oh wait its about the same only worse! Maybe a colonoscopy and a root canal at the same time…..???!!!”

“I can’t use my miles.”

“Thanks for turning my 7 day vacation into 2 and lying about it every step of the way. I hate you. And I hope your drunk of a president crashes his car with his kids in it.”

“US Airways is still the worst airline in world history (and I flew Aeroflot in the Soviet era!)”

“US Airways has the worst customer service of any airline, and thus the worst customer service in the world. I was told by a ticketing agent, “We have the power to accommodate you, and we have accommodated others in the same situation as you are, but it’s too hard in this situation, so we won’t do it.””

“My recent experience of horrible customer service by a USAirways rep at the airport counter – and that I got no response to the complaint email I sent – wins out here. You can tell some of the USAirways employees hate their jobs – but please don’t take it out on the traveler. And management needs to be more responsive.”

“The only time my luggage was ever lost, it was flying US Scareways. I was flying to Maryland for my aunt’s funeral last March. I was in a terrible state of mind to begin with (my aunt died in a car accident), and after nearly missing my connecting flight in DFW because we were running late, got into BWI three hours late to discover my baggage was missing. The staff was unbelievably rude. They told me I would just have to wait until they delivered it (their exact words). I left my sister’s address in Laurel and they said it’d be there in the morning. Next day, nada, not even a phone call. Meanwhile the funeral was the next day and I had nothing, not even a toothbrush.

I ended up borrowing a dress from my sister. To add insult to injury, they had the nerve to finally deliver my luggage the morning I was supposed to fly back to Phoenix (apparently they couldn’t find my sister’s house in Laurel). That was the last time I flew US Scareways.”

“My now-husband’s aunt flew me out to the East Coast for his college graduation using her massive stash of frequent flyer miles. My flights ended and began at a small airport in Connecticut (Hartford-Bradley, I believe), which was about an hour away from the college and two away from his house. The way in, we had no problems. There was a massive storm on the way out, though, so I was stuck at the airport for over three hours.

When I got to Philadelphia to connect, I was sent to about five different ticket counters to find my flight which I thought I had missed. After two hours of counter-tag, I found out that not only had I missed my flight, but it didn’t even exist anymore.

At first, they tried to pin it on me, telling me that they sent me an email regarding the change and that I’d need to rebook. There was no email in my box or his aunt’s. Even so, why did the ticketing ladies put a tag with that flight number on my luggage at Bradley? Why didn’t they tell me I’d be stranded in PA?

They wouldn’t give me a free room, only an $80 voucher. I had no money to my name, so my guy drove another three hours down to PA, then drove another hour and change to the closest hotel with vacancies. When I got back to the airport the next day, I tried to use my free food voucher at the food court. Nobody accepted it.

I will never fly US Airways again. “

“My fun with US Airways: I was scheduled to fly from Rochester NY to Burlington VT for my parents’ 25th anniversary, with a stopover in Philly for a few hours. It was intended to be a surprise, and my brother was going to pick me up from the airport and bring me to the party.

So the plane in Philly gets delayed because of snow. There is another one scheduled to leave later, but obviously, not everyone can get on it, so I talk to a person at the desk about being put on standby for the next plane, because the issue is time sensitive. I am informed that I am the only person on the standby list! Yay!

Later, from a different person, I was told that by being put on the standby list, I had queued myself to be last priority, after the people who were scheduled by -didn’t- request to be put on standby. I was now absolutely last on the list. When I asked them why I wasn’t informed of this when requesting to be on the next flight, I was told that I should’ve had an understanding of how the standby list works. I thought I did. I was wrong it seems. The next flight was leaving entirely too late for me to have any chance of making it to my parents’ anniversary party.

So I tried to call my brother in VT, and couldn’t get ahold of him. I next called my parents’ house and explained what happened, and she called US Airways right then and put them through on a three way call and reamed them out. Eventually, they conceded that they had pulled a dick move on me, and suggested I fly to Manchester NH, and have someone from VT drive there and pick me up.

So I ended up sleeping in the Philly airport, flying to NH, and my brother drove up from VT to pick me up, then drove all the way back down again.

So much wasted time. Thanks, US Airways. “

“USAir is probably the poster child for the sorry state of affairs in American-run airlines. They’re essentially a rush-hour subway car that flies.”

Microsoft:

“MS’s proprietary formats and poor OS are why I voted.”

“since everytime I play a videogame in the back of my head is a “please don’t die”, I vote Microsoft.”

“M!cros0ft’s complete detachment from reality…”

“have you SEEN Vista? The only reason I can tolerate it at all is because of Lifehacker.”

“I voted for MS because they didn’t integrate the HD players into the 360, like how Sony had BR built into the PS3. “

“Microsoft is the evil empire of software. I hate them with a passion. Forcing Vista on consumers is unforgivable. Then, instead of extending XP until Vista is fixed, they tuck tail and run to Windows 7–which will likely have a couple of year’s worth of glitches after it is released.

And umm…I guess that means Vista isn’t going to get any better because all R&D will be reserved for Windows 7. Gee thanks Microsoft for making people buy a product even its own company doesn’t stand behind.

I am sick of the Microsoft merry-go-round of operating systems and I am not playing anymore. We didn’t need a whole new rickety operating system for pretty Aero icons. Sell that crap as a add-on package and leave the rest of us the hell alone. When the time comes when I can no longer use XP, I am buying a MAC. I never had an interest in MACs until Vista. But Microsoft can only anal probe a consumer for so long. Enough is enough.

Microsoft is king of the pointless upgrades in order to turn a buck. But forcing a substandard product on people for a buck…well, they have now gone too far.

Microsoft can kiss my ass.”

“Microsoft and not only their forced obsolescence of operating systems but trying to force you to buy new peripherals on top of it.

MS trying to force people into using Vista is really the last straw. If they succeed on pushing XP out of use I will go back to using Mac. “

“the xobx 360 is the worst console ever. Some of the best games, but worst console. I’m including the sega 32x in this also!”

“Aside from hawking their latest steaming pile of crap known as Vista, I have another reason for hating Microsoft: buying up all my favorite game developers and ruining my favorite game IPs. I was pissed off when they bought FASA Corporation (ruining the Shadowrun IP in video game format and eventually killing off MechWarrior). I was very pissed off when they bought out Bungie (thus killing the Myth series, one of my favorite RTS IPs ever, now that Bungie no longer owns the IP).

Now they want to buy Yahoo, buy a stake in Facebook… I even found an article amusingly declaring that “Microsoft Buys Evil From Satan”. Whenever Microsoft sees money in a niche they haven’t dominated yet, their knee-jerk reaction is to simply buy the company that currently holds the leader spot. It may make good business sense, in truth, but that’s what makes Microsoft the company we love to hate. “

“Dirty little secret: the overwhelming majority of the spam generated, sent and received on the Internet today comes from compromised Windows systems. Anyone who knows how to enable passive OS fingerprinting on their mail servers has been aware of this for years.”

“My Xbox 360 console won’t see/share files with my two Windows XP (SP2) machines. No way in hell I’m paying money for Windows Media Center. Knock on wood, I haven’t yet experienced the RRoD on my Costco-purchased Xbox 360. $500 in upgrade parts to make my primary gaming box (which I thought was smoking-fast for my needs already) Vista compatible. Meh!”

“Tra la la, I love my Macintosh and its nifty OS.”

“Microsoft – created an operating system that is inferior to their own, “outdated” operating system.
They released a console that they have publicly stated will not support the blu-ray standard, only the outmoded HD-DVD standard. In addition, this console has major design flaws such as RROD. To make this worse, the unit costs in the 300-400 dollar range, is hard to get repaired and can even be DoA.”

“Has Microsoft ever released a product that wasn’t still in the beta stage of development? They’ve used the general public as a cash-cow for 25 years while constantly releasing products unready for use. They’ve become a fabulously wealthy monopoly doing this and have absolutely no motive to change (either sales-wise or legally). If they had invented (er stolen) HD-DVD, it would have won and then wouldn’t have worked right for 5 years. And they would have made a gazillion dollars off it.”

“dont forget that when microsoft first launched the 360, that every one of their systems could not pass the hardware test enabled to prevent defective 360s from leaving the plant…
What did MS do, they decided to not do the tests that gave off failure warnings… which was all of them, and instead pop a game inside the system and if it booted, box the thing and ship it to stores…
now thats what i call quality!”

“I had a computer built recently and the tech was smart enough to get me XP so I don’t have to deal with Vista which I hear is horrible.”

“Microsoft. For prolonging the HD DVD wars by supporting Toshiba.”

“Broken XBoxes; prolonging/supporting the HD disc war so they could get more time to let their digital download service mature; releasing Vista prematurely; multiple/confusing and overpriced Vista SKUs; removing XP from the market because people weren’t buying Vista; Zune not supporting Microsoft’s own Plays for Sure standard; DRM and Activation schemes that treat paying customers like criminals. I could go on, but I think thats enough to make my case.”

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2008 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. Keep track of all the goings on at consumerist.com/tag/worst-company-in-america

STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: Time Warner Cable vs American Airlines, Time Warner Cable vs American Airlines, Home Depot vs Wellpoint, Wal-Mart vs Citibank, Capital One vs ATT, Sallie Mae vs eBay/Paypal, TransUnion vs Diebold, Best Buy vs CompUSA, DeBeers vs Verizon, Exxon vs United Airlines, Sony vs Ticketmaster, Comcast vs The American Arbitration Association

Comments

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  1. adamsummers says:

    It seems that a day doesn’t go by without a broken X-Box horror story on the Consumerist. My prediction is that MS will win in a landslide victory.

  2. BlackFlag55 says:

    Microsoft.

    Potato famine.

    One bug to rule them all.

    History repeats itself.

  3. johnva says:

    US Air is the worst major airline in America. They deserve to win. Microsoft does suck at times, but they don’t suck like U.S. Air.

  4. B says:

    I voted for US Air because I thought they went out of business. really, though, I should’ve voted for MS cause they think gay is a slur. and Steph, apparently.

  5. chrylis says:

    US Air is certainly a qualified contender, but they don’t pay airports not to permit other airlines to fly there, and they don’t pay national aviation bodies to keep the rules and regulations secret from competitors.

    Microsoft’s been caught paying manufacturers not to offer competing software (and with the margins in computer manufacturing, it’s an “offer they can’t refuse”), and even “subsidizing” national standards bodies to vote their way.

  6. JiminyChristmas says:

    I voted for Microsoft. I blame them for the idiocy of PowerPoint which is so pervasive in the business world.

    And Vista sucks. So does Internet Explorer. Just get Firefox, already.

  7. parad0x360 says:

    I fail to see how Microsoft is evil. If you dont like their products dont use them. There is no other company in the world where its customers are so vocal about hating it yet…they keep buying which is evident by their incredibly amount of liquid cash.

  8. JustaConsumer says:

    Microsoft is the worst company out there. They should get a free trip to the finals.

  9. drunxor says:

    “Aside from hawking their latest steaming pile of crap known as Vista, I have another reason for hating Microsoft: buying up all my favorite game developers and ruining my favorite game IPs. I was pissed off when they bought FASA Corporation (ruining the Shadowrun IP in video game format and eventually killing off MechWarrior). I was very pissed off when they bought out Bungie (thus killing the Myth series, one of my favorite RTS IPs ever, now that Bungie no longer owns the IP).”

    AMEN BROTHER

  10. HeartBurnKid says:

    Between the sheer idiocy that is Vista, the crap quality of the 360, and the creation of the not-really-open-at-all “Open Format” OOXML and outright bribing the ISO to accept it as a “standard format” just so they don’t lose their lock-in on their Office clients, I’ve got to go with Microsoft on this round. More to hate about them; they force their partner OEMs to not sell machines without any OS, to not sell any machines that have an alternative OS for less than the price of the same Windows machine, and to not advertise their alternative OS machines.

    If you had asked me this in, say, early 2005, I might have actually defended Microsoft here, but for everybody that hates Bill Gates, it seems like, as he’s gradually given the reins to Steve Ballmer, the company has gradually gotten 1000 times worse.

    At any rate, I went Microsoft-free back in March. I installed Ubuntu, and I’m absolutely loving it. I may set up an XP dual-boot just for gaming, but other than that, I’m perfectly happy with Linux.

  11. fresh27 says:

    US Air is the worst airline I’ve ever dealt with. Just recently (last Friday) they:

    1) Called 2 hours before my flight to say it was cancelled for maintenance
    2) I called them back to get put on another flight. They said I was confirmed for the new flight so I rushed to the airport to make it in time. When I got there they told me they oversold the flight and I wouldn’t be getting a seat.
    3) At the gate they looked for flights on other airlines but couldn’t get anything, so they switched me to a flight at 10am the next morning.
    4) At 8am the next morning they called to say they delayed that flight which would cause me to completely miss my connecting flight in Philadelphia
    5) They then changed my flight to another one at 2PM that day but didn’t inform me that they did this (I found it out when checking my tickets online. They didn’t call or send me an email or anything about my new flight.)
    6) Through this entire process they ended up charging me $140 more than I originally agreed to. $140 extra for 3 flight changes and a ton of wasted time.

    US Air sucks.

  12. chucklebuck says:

    Microsoft includes Solitaire with Windows, which gives you something to do when your US Airways flight is delayed without any status updates for 3, 4 or 8 hours at a time. So US Airways gets my vote here.

  13. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m amazed at the wealth of services and applications that arise daily on the web. Imagine what it will be like in five years.
    “Five years” would be now, if Microsoft hadn’t illegally “stolen the oxygen” from Netscape, prematurely aborting Netscape. Strangling billions’ of people’s online life, simply to extend their illegal monopoly so they could deliver: Vista?!!
    Of course, eventually it didn’t work – one can damn a raging river only so long before the levee breaks. But it’s the thought that counts.

    Versus being one of several crappy airlines, but not the worst.

    Not even close.

  14. Bladefist says:

    Worst company in the world? Or the leader in innovation? If MS didn’t exist, would you be reading this article? I know about all the other OS’s. But, the others didn’t appeal to businesses, the way MS did.

  15. MissPeacock says:

    I voted US Air, simply because of the way the desk agent treated me (like a big old pile of rat dung) when my flight was unexpectedly canceled, and the fact that they offered no accommodations for food or lodging. If you don’t like dealing with the public, don’t get a job dealing with the public. Seems like most other US Air employees are like this as well, judging from the comments.

  16. LandruBek says:

    There are much more profound reasons to hate Microsoft than ‘Vista sucks’. MS is an abusive monopoly; it’s been convicted by the feds of abusing its position to stifle competition. That’s how they killed off Netscape and Word Perfect, and how they almost killed off Java. Why does “everyone” (except me) use Microsoft Word nowadays? Not because it is the best word processor, but because back in the day, lil’ Word’s competitors were strangled by protective Uncle Windows. I don’t think Microsoft has changed, either: recently its minions severely gamed the ISO rules to ensure ratification for the impossible-to-implement-if-your-name-isn’t-Microsoft standard called OOXML, which MS misleadingly call ‘open’. Its 800#-gorilla tactics retard the technology industry in every way.

  17. Lambasted says:

    Vista leaves me no choice but to vote for Microsoft. I used to admire Microsoft as a business model and even cheered them on against the government’s antitrust lawsuits craze. I wanted Microsoft to “give them hell”.

    Frankly, now I’ve had enough of Microsoft’s attitude: “Even if the public doesn’t need it or want it, we’ll cram it down their throats and make them pay us for the privilege anyway, regardless of how well it works…or doesn’t work.” [Insert evil laughter]

  18. chrisjames says:

    @Bladefist: We probably would be, but might be paying a lot less for it (or a lot more if I’ve misunderstood the marketing impact). I wouldn’t call them the leader in innovation. More like the leader in dodgy marketing practices and business shenanigans.

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    “Innovation” and “Microsoft” are null sets on a Venn diagram. “Copy”, “Steal” or “Embrace & Extend”, OTOH…
    For those that have seen Iron Man, (and do!), Tony Stark is the un-Microsoft. He creates, he refines, he produces the Iron Man v3 armor: sleek, beautiful, graceful, functional and pristine. Iron Monger, OTOH, is a craven rip-off of Tony’s v1 armor, just with more crap piled on, fugly, graceless and insatiable: Microsoft in a nutshell.
    * *
    Gentle readers, please consider voting outside your own personal experiences. It’s Worst Company in America, not Worse Company That Did [fill-in-your-name-here] Wrong. We’ve evolved beyond living in caves and now have this thing called “writing” that allows us to gain wisdom from others’ triumphs and mistakes. Please avail yourself of this revolution. 4,000 years old but still worth a try!

  20. Trai_Dep says:

    @Lambasted: And precisely what did you expect Microsoft to do after they cemented their illegal monopoly that you were cheering them on as they built? Yeesh! Hopefully, a lesson learned? :)

  21. 11hawkinst says:

    Common guys, Microsoft may be bad, but US Air is WAY worse! Horrible customer service (worse than Microsoft’s. Trust me, I’ve been through both) and many bad flight experiences.

    US Air has gotta go.

  22. adamsummers says:

    @11hawkinst: US Air is bad, but I am still convinced that Microsoft customer support goes out of their way to be as unhelpful as possible. I believe they actually ENJOY it.

  23. Bryan Price says:

    Almost went with Microsoft for the broadcast flag fiasco and Vista Media Center, but I’ve also been exposed to US Air.

  24. sburnap42 says:

    @Bladefist: Given that the web browser and the web server were both first created for non-Microsoft platforms, yes, I believe I *would* be reading this without Microsoft.

    Microsoft doesn’t innovate. Microsoft copies the innovations of others.

  25. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    While US Air is a terrible airline, they can only kill maybe 200 people at a time in a worst case scenario.
    But Microsoft’s shitty software is used by the US Government & numerous electric utilities to control their systems.
    They have left so many exploitable holes that hackers, both vandals, foreign governments & possibly even terrorists may have tried to hack into power grids & the Pentagon.
    That could cause the deaths of thousands if they figured out how to crash the grid.
    Plus the economic cost could be in the billions.

  26. jeffbone says:

    Microsoft is evil, but USeless Air is the Comcast of the airline industry. They get my round two vote.

  27. HeartBurnKid says:

    @Bladefist: Yes, we would. And we’d probably be complaining about Apple or IBM almost as much as we complain about Microsoft. Then again, both those companies are run by anticompetitive assclowns too. Seriously, what is it about the computer industry that invites these people?

  28. dotyoureyes says:

    I’m sorry, but the readers are getting this one wrong. USAir ought to take this whole competition. They consistently demonstrate new levels of customer service incompetence in an industry not known for competence to begin with.

  29. I gotta say….. I love Vista and US Airways has never screwed up a single flight.

    In the interest of full disclosure I have only flown US Airways twice.

  30. Anyone who has actually flown USAir knows which way they’re voting.

  31. thejynxed says:

    I vote Microsoft.

    Many reasons have already been stated by folks earlier in the thread, so I don’t really feel I have to heap any more onto the pile.

    Just take into account, that US Air runs Microsoft customer service software at their ticket counters…and I will never forget seeing a US Air schedule display BSODed at the airport :)

  32. fresh27 says:

    The only people who are voting for Microsoft are the people who’ve never flown US Air. US Air is surprisingly close behind MS considering the amount of people that have dealt with each company.

  33. My hotmail account is a spam-ridden email sieve that dumped all of my mail when the site started shifting to “Live”. Microsoft is not the worst company in the US IMO, but they ain’t a peach either.

  34. interloper says:

    I must be the only person in existence where my only good airline story is from US Air.

    I was connecting in Philly and had gotten to my next flight’s gate before I realized that I had dropped my glasses out of my coat pocket. I retraced my steps through the Philly airport back to my arriving gate. The gate was closed and no agent was available. I walked across the hall and found a gate agent at another gate and explained my situation to her. She immediately dropped what she was doing, walked back over to my arriving gate, opened the door to the jetway and let the pilot know what she was doing. She allowed me to reboard the plane and search my seat, something I think is technically not allowed anymore in this age of terrorism paranoia. My glasses were stuck in that crack between the seats. Her helpful attitude saved me about $400 for a new pair of glasses.

  35. blackmage439 says:

    Microsoft is an evil, greedy, bloated corporations that continually churns out crap. I must vote for USAir, however. Routinely stranding people and losing their luggage is unforgivable.

  36. scottywz says:

    I absolutely hate Micro$oft. As a Web developer, I can say that Internet Explorer is the worst Web browser in the world. How come Firefox 3 (which is made mostly by unpaid volunteers), Opera, and Safari all pass the Acid2 test, while you can’t even get a site to work properly in Internet Exploder without hacking?

    Windows is worse. M$ has never released an OS that works properly. They all have countless security vulnerabilities, are unstable, and are very expensive–more expensive than OSX or Linux. I use Ubuntu Linux on my main computer (a laptop) and it is much more stable, secure, powerful, and flexible than Windows will ever be. Not to mention FREE. I even have my mother using Ubuntu on her piece of *@!%, 5-year-old Toshiba laptop!

    I only use Windows to sync my iPhone and test sites in IE, and maybe a few other things. The laptop I run Windoze on is too crappy to do much with, and it overheats and shuts off unless I run a portable fan on its exhaust vent. Since I have to keep its back facing me and the fan, I use RDP to connect to and control it from my Linux box.

    Vi$ta and Office 2007, I hear, are terrible. Office 2007 has a terribly designed UI (ribbons?), and Vista is just as stable as Windows 98.

    Don’t get me started about Microsoft corporate. With billions of dollars in profits, they STILL can’t do anything right. Their (middle-aged) CEO runs around stages at developers’ conferences and keynotes acting like a middle-school cheerleader (or at least he used to), and the only reason $teve Ballmer is their CEO is because Bill Gates was too stupid to run the company properly in the first place. He even CRIED on national television!

    Needless to say, I’m voting for Micro$oft.

  37. strathmeyer says:

    @parad0x360: “I fail to see how Microsoft is evil. If you dont like their products dont use them. There is no other company in the world where its customers are so vocal about hating it yet…they keep buying which is evident by their incredibly amount of liquid cash.”

    Do us all a favor and grab a dictionary and look up the word “monopoly” and try to think a little bit, it will make you a better person.

  38. dlbritton says:

    The management style and lack of customer service at US Air dates back many years.

    In the late 1980′s when US Air merged with Piedmont Airlines, I worked for AT&T and a number of us commuted from the south to New Jersey on a weekly basis. After US Air took over Piedmont the 7 AM flight was cancelled (for mechanical reasons) on a regular basis. The division vice president complained to US Air about the frequency of the cancelled flights and received a reply stating that they had stopped basing a spare plane here and that many times there were not enough passengers to make the flight profitable so that was the flight they cancelled if any planes had mechanical problems. The letter further stated that whereas Piedmont Airlines had been a service oriented company US Air was a profit oriented company and we would just have to get used to the way they did business.

    If they would treat AT&T executives like this how do you think they regard the common folk.