Worst Company In America: US Airways VS Capital One

Which is worse? A fee party disguised as a credit card? Or an airline that tried charging for water? We report, you decide.

It’s #19 US Airways VS #14 Capital One:


This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2009 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers, and seeded according to number of nominations. Keep track of all the goings on at consumerist.com/tag/worst-company-in-america. Download the bracket here.

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  1. exploded says:

    I think this one is going to be close!

  2. noone1569 says:

    Bah, its in my wallet, but it pisses me off!

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:

      @noone1569:

      Same here – they sent the vikings to my house the other day telling me about the lovely interest hike for being a good customer!

  3. Radi0logy says:

    Everyone hates banks and credit card companies these days, I can’t see Capitol One getting knocked off.

    • misshistory says:

      @Radi0logy: I don’t hate Capital One these days. I actually have a lower APR on my capital one card than I do on any of my other credit cards right now… by about 8 points. It’s the only card I’ll really use anymore.

      • DarqAnshin says:

        @misshistory:
        Wait a few weeks, they will change it to about 21.99%. I have been a loyal customer for years now and then they dropped that on me. Its now the highest out of the credit cards I have. I just paid them off and tossed it in the freezer with my other CCs.

  4. jerros says:

    In normal times US Air would win this hands down. But with all the economic problems revolving around banks I think popular opinions probably going to sway the “worst company” towards any bank.

    • ARP says:

      @jerros: I think it’s because banks raising rates on existing balances, playing games with billing cycles, etc. I think if US Air sent me a bill for the Coke I drank two months ago on their flight because they had a “we can do whatever we want” contract, I’d vote for them.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @jerros: US Airways also managed to not kill people.
      that’s a plus
      (i can probably find some story that claims capital 1 killed someone, but i’ll leave that up to you)

  5. Bluth_Cornballer says:

    US Airways is so bad that I would use a Capital One card to purchase a ticket on another airline.

  6. shaken_bake says:

    It only took me four months to obtain, then cancel, my Capital One card due to complete incompetence in their automatic online payment system. No contest in my book!

  7. CoarseLive says:

    I”m going to ride Capital One right to the end. They suck.

  8. vladthepaler says:

    I don’t use either company. Capital One has annoying ads, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a US Airways commercial. So Capital One gets my vote.

  9. johnva says:

    U.S. Airways is way worse. They fail to even provide the basic service an airline is supposed to provide (reasonably on-time air transportation), as their “schedule” is a work of fiction that they feel free to completely alter whenever want.

    Capital One actually has some redeeming features, annoying commercials aside. They don’t charge a foreign exchange fee, for one thing, which makes their cards quite useful if you travel internationally (or at least, they didn’t charge one the last time I did this).

    • ConroyCotta says:

      @johnva: I use US Air lots. I’ve never had any problems with them. Who cares if they don’t give you a Sprite on your flight to Charlotte.

      In fact, in january I flew internationally with them (total of 4 flights) and EVERY flight arrived early.

      • johnva says:

        @ConroyCotta: The last 5 or so times that I took U.S. Air they delayed my flights by hours, citing things like “weather”, “missing their takeoff slot”, etc even when all the other airlines were running just fine. Maybe it depends on where you’re flying out of.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ConroyCotta: I am flying with them this afternoon, and regularly do. I have had problems with flying into and out of Philly, but I associate that more with Philly itself than anything else. I also believe US Airways has greatly improved their timeliness rating in the last year. If charging a la carte means they keep their fares more competative, then I understand. Although they have reversed the policy on beverages.

  10. tangent4 says:

    Atleast USAir didn’t send every passenger a letter forcing them to pay more or lose their flight because “we all have to share the burden of tough economic times”. USAir’s problems are common throughout the industry. Capital One’s rate hike – not so much.

  11. TouchMyMonkey says:

    CapOne to the Final Four! You’ve heard this one before, but I got a notice that my rate was being jacked to 17.9% I have store cards that are better than that, so I declined and shredded my card, which I had for at least six years. With a credit score well north of 800, which will probably stay that way even without CapOne’s credit line at my disposal, I found this rather insulting.

  12. Citizen Kang says:

    Good God, these are boring matchups!! Here, I’ve got some for you:

    Cyberdyne Systems v. Weyland-Yutani
    Brawndo v. OCP (Omni Consumer Products)
    Kanemitsu v. Mega Lo Mart
    CHOAM v. LexCorp
    Umbrella Corporation v. Tyrell Corporation
    Krusty Burger v. S-Mart

    Now those are some seriously evil corporations.

  13. Blinky987 says:

    The only bad part with Capital One is my rate. I pay it off every month, so I don’t think of my rate like others do. The plus side to my CapOne card is that they don’t charge for currency conversions or foreign currency purchases. That I do like.

  14. packcamera says:

    US Airways is the home of the filthiest airplanes ever! Capitol One may be a lousy “financial” company, but the biohazard in a tin-can claiming to be transportation exposes you to more dangers than bad credit or customer service can provide.

    Capital One does not put Legionnaire’s disease or the NoroVirus in your pocket (unless you use their custom card lab…)

    • MameDennis says:

      @packcamera:
      I was undecided on this matchup, but you reminded me of my scariest plane experience! I was on a USAirways flight where they decided to clean the bathroom while the plane was loading. The fumes were incredible… I don’t know if it was cleaning fluid, the magic air toidy solution, or a combination. Pure, choke-a-licious evil, whatever it was. I don’t care for companies that attempt to gas their customers.

  15. vastrightwing says:

    How do you choose?
    On one hand you have bad customer service, over charging, expensive rates, horrible policies, and the threat of bankruptcy. On the other hand, you have bad customer service, over charging, expensive rates, horrible policies, and the threat of bankruptcy.
    What do you do?

  16. hypochondriac says:

    How about not showing the results for a few weeks? I’ve heard by showing the results can skew the results or cause a bias.

  17. ManiacDan says:

    I just attempted to process a chargeback for merchandise through capital one and it was rejected because where the form said “service cancellation date” I wrote “merchandise, not a service.” They use the same form for everything, and can’t be bothered to label the fields properly. My vote goes to Capital One today.

    • Tankueray says:

      @ManiacDan: I agree, they refused my chargeback for defective merchandise. American Express FTW!

      • ManiacDan says:

        @Tankueray: After writing a very stern letter to capitalOne, they re-processed my chargeback and now I got my refund. Hooray for writing letters!

        I’ll submit the full story to the consumerist, we’ll see if it makes the page.

  18. nudger says:

    Vanno says US Airways (#1516) is worse than Capital One (#628).

  19. Tom_Servo says:

    I have never used either companies services, so I must recuse myself.

  20. mattattaxx says:

    my capital one is low interest and I’ve never been hit by fees at all

    so i guess I’m lucky.

  21. TWinter says:

    I lost two days of my life sitting at the airport in Philadelphia thanks to US Air. There were weather issues, but they could have canceled the flight right away instead of changing the departure time over and over and making us sit at the airport for ten hours before finally deciding to cancel.

  22. JeanStork says:

    Oh HECK yes it goes to ANY airline that charges a “Per baggage” fee after you already paid for your dang ticket… Piss off USAir…

  23. You Cannot Untoast says:

    Shouldn’t this contest end now? We all know AIG’s got this in the bag.

  24. NeverLetMeDown says:

    I’m actually a Cap One fan – they’re one of the few banks left that don’t charge an extra 2-3% for foreign currency purchases – definitely my preferred int’l travel card.

  25. You Cannot Untoast says:

    @lannister80:

    No, Weyland-Yutani is trying hard to bring back a xenomorph and end the human race, which they so far have failed to do.

    Cyberdyne Systems came much closer to succeeding.

    *sticking to film plots, not comics or novels

  26. johnmc says:

    I’m going to have to sit this round out. US Airways (note, it’s US Airways – hasn’t been USAir since the mid 90′s) has gotten a lot better over the last while and Capital One hasn’t screwed me over, despite me making a couple of stupid mistakes with my card.

  27. edwardso says:

    I will say the capital one seemed to be much more cautious when handing out credit limits than other companies. I got my first card from them when I was 20 with a credit limit of $300. Almost five years later the limit is only $800 without ever missing a payment

  28. lalaland13 says:

    This is fairly close, but the Capital One rate raising due to “market conditions” gets them my vote. I would give them points for honesty if they said “because we can get away with it.”

  29. Gene L says:

    “Or an airline that tried charging for water?”

    Well, in their defense, it’s not like they expected ALL of the passengers to opt for the mid-flight dip in the Hudson.

  30. HungryTuna says:

    Crazy IDEA for Next year…

    I like the seeding but we need to add in “Regions” or “Industries”

    It does not make sense to compare a BANK with an AIRLINE. Our expectations of the two differs significantly.

    For instance:
    When I call a Bank I expect a professional service and immediate assistance
    When I call an Airline I expect delays, long wait times, and to be bounced around between several CSRs

    This competition should highlight not only “The Worst Company in America”.. But also “The Worst company in each industry”

  31. Jay Bibby says:

    Last week I flew to San Francisco on USAirways for a business conference, and my luggage ended up in Cancun. Of course since it went out of the country, it had to go through customs on the way back, which delayed it even longer. It wasn’t returned for days, and the inconvenience it caused me was unacceptable.

    How the heck does this happen?

    USAirways gets my vote.

  32. SillyinPhilly says:

    US Airways just canceled 21,000 frequent flier miles I had since I wouldn’t use their high interest credit card. I will never fly on them again either for business or personal use.

  33. Paladin656 says:

    I’ve never had a problem with Cap one. In fact the one time when I had a card stolen, it was pretty easy to deal with. Call them up, they freeze the card, send a little paperwork to fill out, and get my money back.

    No problems what so ever.

  34. Magpie724 says:

    How is US airways loosing… by the time you get to your destination you’ve spend over $30 on bags, food and drinks and you’ve been offered to buy a credit card and become a frequent flier about 10 times

  35. scouts honor says:

    This is a tough one but I think Sully tips this one toward Capital One.

  36. mallen462 says:

    I haven’t used either service, but i”m going to go with capital one mainly because the banks screwed our economy over with their greed.

  37. jake7294 says:

    I have a Cap One card and they’ve treated me fairly. I just flew US Airways – the flights were on time and it was a great experience overall…

  38. Frank Murphy says:

    Both companies deserve to go out of business, but the thing with USAir is that often times there is no other viable option while with Capital One there are always viable options.

  39. TerribleDecade says:

    Capital One is part of the problem. So it’s not their fault, but they could’ve done something.

  40. joellevand says:

    Capital One FTW!

  41. Franco Gaudry says:

    Capital One, they have been caught delaying payments being processed. Their direct mail advertising with those little checks can really get you into trouble. It’s borderline predatory.

  42. Kounji says:

    I think Sulley is one of the reasons why US Air wins over Captiol One in this case. At least that why I voted the way I did

    • the lesser of two weevils says:

      @Kounji: Agreed. That man is golden and US Airways is damn lucky to have him. Plus they handled the lost baggage issue well, not screwing over the passengers.

      For the record I still despise US Airways, but Capital One tales the nickel and diming the consumer to a whole new level.

  43. Bog says:

    Yeah, I have to go with capital one here. US Airways isn’t pleasant but they haven’t spit on me either with insults.

    US Airways an “honest” statement: “Yeah, we screwed up and didn’t have a contingency for bad weather and we sold more seats then we have. It sucks for you, we’re admit we’re not really sorry; but here’s a free for next time.”

    Capital One with an “excuses” statement: “So we received $5.billion in TARP stimulus money and we decided that due to a difficult economic environment we had to come up with new ways to serve you. Because we like you and you have never made a late payment anywhere, think it would be beneficial to raise your rate to from a fixed 9% to a variable rate of 30%. We also have a number of fees and fines we want to charge you for anything we can think of in order to make you feel better for being such a good mark for accepting our usurious rates.

  44. rlee says:

    Had a chat with my local Chevy Chase Bank branch supervisor, expressing my dismay that CCB was sold to CapOne. She assured me she’d heard the credit card horror stories from relatives and so had her own concerns, but was convinced CapOne had learned its lessons and learned from CCB, and Things Would Be Much Better. I don’t use CCB cards (except the Visa Debit Card only used for ATM transactions) so I’m more willing to take a wait-and-see attitude than I might be otherwise.

  45. Datacloud says:

    I dislike flying US Airways. They are notorious for overbooking flights in the hopes that people don’t show up. I know every airline does this to some extent, but they are by far the worse. I’ve never heard of a flight where they weren’t asking for volunteers to take other flights.

    Still, I hate credit card companies with a fury like no other. Capital One gets my vote.