Delta's Atlantic Southeast Airlines Is America's Worst Airline

The Department of Transportations Air Travel Consumer Report was released Monday and it confirms what we’ve all been thinking: Delta’s Atlantic Southeast Airlines is just stunningly terrible.

Tardiness Issues:

Atlantic Southeast is now dead last among the major carriers in on-time arrival percentage at 63.4%. That’s 10 percentage points worse than the next airline on the list, Alaska Airlines (73.3%), but still an improvement from earlier this summer when they were on-time only 54.2% of the time.

Of the major carriers, Atlantic Southeast had the most flights that were late 70% or more of the time. They had 24. The next carrier on the list only had 4. Continental, American Eagle, Mesa, JetBlue, Frontier and a few others had 0.

Atlantic Southeast tied Pinnacle for the airline that canceled the highest percentage of flights at 2.4% For example, Atlantic Southeast canceled 449 more flights than Northwest Airlines, which is twice as big, and loves to cancel flights.

Did Your Mother Give You A Note?:

So why are they so terrible? Do they have an excuse? Weather? Airport delays? Apparently not. According to the report, they lead all airlines in “Air Carrier Delays” with 18.84% of delays caused by… themselves. That’s 10 percentage points more than any other airline.

The DOT defines “Air Carrier Delay” as: “The cause of the cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control (e.g. maintenance or crew problems, etc.).” Among all airlines the rate of “Air Carrier Delay” is only 5.25%.

Watch Out For Falling Luggage:

So, can you trust them with your baggage? No. Aside from the fact that they recently had a cargo bay door open mid-air, raining luggage down on Chicagoland, they also lead all airlines with the most mishandled baggage claims per passenger in September. (10.54 reports per every 1,000 passengers.)

All This and Overbooking, Too:

Surely they’re not last in “overbooking,” too? Of course they are. Dead last. Atlantic Southeast denied boarding to 4.11 out of every 10,000 passengers from July-Sep of this year.

Driving Us To Drink:

Why are they so bad? Is it because their flight attendants show up drunk? Or are the flight attendants showing up drunk because Atlantic Southeast is so bad? It’s like the chicken and the egg, isn’t it?

Tell us, why is Atlantic Southeast so bad?

Air Travel Consumer Report [DOT]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hedgy2136 says:

    This is no surprise to me. Almost every time I’ve had to fly ASA, there has been a problem. The airport nearst me only has ASA as a carrier and only to ATL and back. Most folks here choose to travel by van (that is when ASA doesn’t outright cancel the flight and send you by van). Only bright spot is the 500 Sky Miles you get for each boarding but with Delta trashing the program, it’s tough to justify them now.

  2. Hedgy2136 says:

    Not to mention, a round trip ticket to anywhere from here (about 100 miles from ATL) can cost twice as much as from ATL.

  3. hollerhither says:

    After a few truly dreadful Delta delays I suspected them of routinely arbitrarily canceling flights to consolidate passengers/crew, blaming “mechanical problems” to scare us into complacency…the data seems to back that theory. And yeah, if you are traveling in the South, there aren’t many other options.

  4. vitaminct says:

    nitpicky, but still kind of important: two of the bolded summaries (10% worse than the next airline on the list and 10% more than any other airline) actually refer to percentage points rather than percent.

  5. Skiffer says:

    Every airline sucks, but some suck more – I’m having trouble remembering which ones suck the most…

    I think we should enact some legislation to force them to print all their performance statistics on their websites or tickets, or maybe just their nutritional info…

  6. asacrew says:

    Give the pilots a contract. Its been 5 years. Yes 5 years. Crews have no pride in the airline. Very simple. Treat your workers well and you will get what you pay for!

  7. Snarkysnake says:

    Why did you guys go so easy on ASA ?

    This shit-poor excuse for an airline has ruined more weekends,holidays and family reunions than all of the others out there combined. Here in the area where I live,there is a tragic lack of choice in air service.That makes it easy for these assholes to act like…assholes.If you have ever wondered what it would be like if you had absolutely no choice in phone service,cable tv or internet service,fly this airline once and you will stare into the abyss of monopoly “service” policy.

    This outfit has become so undependable that a thriving business has emerged that involves taking a shuttle from the outlying airports (served by ASA) to the Atlanta airport so that people can get where they are going without putting up with their bullshit.Most travelers that I know will never set foot on an ASA plane again.Delta is so stupid and arrogant that they don’t realize what this “partner” is doing to their reputation .

    Usually this is the place in the story where you read that even though the company is crappy,the individual employees are the salt of the earth and just want to help you and blah,blah,blah. Not here. These people are stupid ,lazy,unmotivated slackers that shouldn’t be allowed to run a Kwik-E-Mart,much less a fucking airline.If you have any sense about you,you will avoid this airline like a case of the clap.

    BTW- If any of the ASA executives can read,and are reading this, fuck you and the plane you arrived late on.

  8. savdavid says:

    I do not work for ASA, know anyone who has worked for them or is working for them. I have flown them only 4 times but I never had a problem. Really. I guess I have been very lucky. Perhaps the law of averages will finally catch up with me on a bad day when I really need to get somewhere fast. As of now, I have to say they are OK in my book.

  9. miran says:

    We have the shuttle that competes with ASA, when I travel for work, I’ll take the ASA plane to ATL, but make sure I know the schedule for the shuttle to get back home. The last three flights home almost never leave.
    And if one does, I’ve been sleeping in my comfy bed two hours before it lands in my town.
    The only bennefit to taking them, is that the local TSA folks are not the Atlanta TSA folks.

  10. dwarf74 says:

    Delta’s the airline that delayed me 26 hours last October on the way out, and 10 hours on the return trip.

    That’s an awful lot of my life I’m never getting back.

  11. zippygaelle says:

    @Snarkysnake: “If any of the ASA executives can read,and are reading this, fuck you and the plane you arrived late on.”


    Oh, and thank god I don’t live in the South where I’d be subjected to this crappy airline.

  12. Meg Marco says:

    @vitaminct: Very true.

  13. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    the two US Airways D.C. to Boston flight disagree with this rating.

  14. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    @Cassifras: the pilots of that flight I meant. …damnit!

  15. Hahaha…its about damn time I read this story.

    Having flown (well, attempted to) into and out of Gainesville, Fl to Atlanta, Ga over a dozen times (not counting the 3 below), about 10 of them have been cancelled or delayed.

    Two weeks ago, my 8:30pm connection flight from ATL to GNV was (after they had to bump approx 10 people because they had to replace the plane with a smaller one) delayed, and delayed, and delayed, we waited for a new plane, then we waited for a new crew, who didn’t sign off on the plane. They finally cancelled the flight at 11:30pm, which was awesome since I had been flying in from Europe and was exhausted. Then, after we caught our flight the next morning (which was delayed at 45 minutes), 3 of the 7 of our luggage didn’t make it. Fortunatly, ASA had the luggage delivered when it arrived (granted, that was about 12 hours after I landed).

    Yesterday, my outbound flight from GNV to ATL at 8am was delayed until 8:45, not because the plane wasn’t there, but because the crew was on crew rest. My return flight from ATL to GNV was delayed from 3:30pm to 4:45pm (after originally being delayed to 5:45pm), due to having to get a new plane.

    I fly out tomorrow on the same route, and return on Sunday. I am fully expecting at least one of those to be delayed and/or cancelled.

    The problem (from what I’ve gathered) is that the ATL to GNV route is such a low priority that we get screwed, not that that is an excuse.

    This doesn’t even cover the unfriendly counter workers, the unfriendly flight attendants, or the crappy old turbo prop planes.

  16. Neurotic1 says:

    In Los Angeles (Los Angeles??), Delta is using ASA to offset prices. It’s the old ‘spend a dollar to save a penny’ adage at work. The theory is that the smaller ASA aircrafts will offset the prices of operating the bigger jets. In practice, all they end up doing more than half the time is piss everyone off with their incompetence.

    A full plane? Better keep an eye out the window because Delta will often leave carts of bags off if they don’t fit without telling you. I’ve seen, on almost a weekly basis, where even carry-on bags are taken from the passenger in the jetway, taken down the stairs, and thrown into a cart and left off.

    A mechanical problem? Sure that’s what they tell you. The real reason is often not a mechanical problem but a lack of a mechanic. There often is no mechanic on duty qualified to service the ASA aircraft types so Delta calls and pays other airlines to come service the planes. Of course, that often entails a wait.

    Oh, the captain says there’s traffic ahead of you so it’ll be a few more minutes at the gate? That translates into- the ramp does not have the proper equipment so we’ll have to sit here at the gate for another 30min. while the agents drive around the ramp hunting things down like headsets and towbars.

    Next time you’re being told one thing at the gate or while you’re sitting inside the airplane, trying peeking out the window and see if what you’re being told meshes with what you see.

  17. lemur says:

    Hmm… I don’t think ASA is the explanation for Delta’s general incompetence. Eight years ago, I took Delta for a round trip from DC to Lexington, KY. I had connexions both ways so this trip had a total of four flights. Out of the four flights, 2 were significantly delayed and 2 were canceled. Yes, you read that right: CANCELED. I did those legs of the trip in a taxi (paid by Delta). They also managed to lose my luggage. The luggage was later found but they tried to deliver it by sending a driver with no sense of direction, or a brain. There was no act of god involved, no natural catastrophy, nothing. It was just sheer incompetence from Delta.

    The cherry on the sundae was how the Delta staff at the departure gates kept feeding us bullshit as to the reason our flights were delayed or canceled. They might as well just have said: “We’re sorry but the flight is going to be delayed a bit because we found a unicorn in the cockpit. Animal control has been called and they should take care of the problem shortly.”

    I think rather than ASA being itself the root of the problem, it is a manifestation of the inherent incompetence that pervades Delta. True, ASA is now owned by Skywest and is a partner of Delta but during 1999-2005 ASA was a subsidiary of Delta. That was long enough for Delta to instill a culture of mediocrity into ASA. And it looks like although ASA is owned by Skywest, it is still very much entangled with Delta. See this page:


    At the very bottom, there’s mention of Delta taking over all of ASA’s ground handling facilities. I think the two entities are hardly independent when it comes to actual operations and I’m convinced that the standards of quality (or lack thereof) are primarily set by Delta.

  18. Flibbetigibbet says:

    Wow, I was going to weigh in, but Snarkysnake really said it all. ASA sucks because it is the airline equivalent of a local cable monopoly, and like one of those, it’s run and staffed by incompetent and dishonest assholes.

    The usual excuse for late flights is “mechanical problems,” but that’s BS. The real reason is usually because the crew and/or mechanics are late to work.

    I was on one of their flights from Newport News to Atlanta a few months ago. Flight was overbooked (of course) and the rude as hell sky waitress and gate agents barged on demanding that paying customers get off the plane so the weight would balance out. The zinger? there were three ASA employees deadheading on the flight. Not one of them budged (and all of them smirked) as a paying customer (not me) was forced off the already-late flight.

    Go to hell, ASA.

  19. Flibbetigibbet says:

    Oh, and God help you if you have an evening ASA flight out of Atlanta. It’s a very bad feeling when you’re stuck on the ass-end of Terminal C with a couple of hundred other stranded people and the Wendy’s starts to close.

    ASA victims know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

  20. @Flibbetigibbet: Ha, I usually get stuck in Terminal D, but we have Burger King down there…same issues though…

  21. Oh…and I’m sitting in the Gainesville airport right now…and my ASA flight to Atlanta is delayed…SURPRISE!!

  22. citybuddha says:


  23. bobbwa says:

    When was the last time any of you flew on ASA? The problem isn’t the airline, it’s the people working in ATL. In June of this year Delta took over ground operations from ASA for the ASA flight in ATL. They basically did it to get rid of all of the people who don’t care about their jobs, but they hired 90% of the people who were working for ASA. The other problem with ATL is that it is one of the busiest if not the busiest airport in the world. ASA also contracts most of the stations out to other airlines or companies so it really might not be ASA thats screwing up at your station it might be another airline. On the note of delays and cacellations due to maintenance go you have to think about how there are only 2 ASA maintenance bases in the country, one in ATL and one in Macon. Local aircraft mechanics can’t fix major problems, so if your plane breaks and you only have 2 departures and 2 arrivals a day, chances are it’s going to be delayed or cancelled. For those of you who think ASA has a monopoly on your local airport chances are that you live in an area that other airlines won’t touch because you only have 10,000 people fly in and out a year. At my airport we have about 700,000 fly in and out a year and 250,000 are on American, 250,000 are on a delta connection carrier and the other 200,000 are on US Air, United Express, Continental, and NorthWest. If you think it is ASA as a whole and that all of the employees suck and are a bunch of stupid assholes then think again. Fly into XNA and I’ll show you how ASA TEAM MEMBERS really work. And yes for those of you that are that don’t know what I’m talking about I work for ASA and I love my job and my company, so come on by and I’ll show you around the airport.

  24. johnnyk421 says:

    lol stop hating on ASA everyone. I work for ASA too and i can say pretty much everything BOBBWA said is correct. Yes we have some problems, like every other airline, but Delta is incharge of a large part of our operation and we are their lowest priority.

  25. Snarkysnake says:


    It’s Delta’s fault…It’s managements fault… It’s George Bush’s fault…Space aliens…The Burgerbilders…Just keep on making excuses right up until your half assed little cropduster airline goes Tango Uniform. Potential customers take note : These two nitwits can’t even admit that their “airline” is more likely to be late or cancel your flight altogether than get you to your destination. Hey , “dedicated employees” ,we’re not asking you to invent time travel or beam us up to the fucking Enterprise. We want to get from Chattanooga to Atlanta without all of your bullshit. If that’s so fucking hard,just look down below you and about 6,000 feet and follow I-75. Maybe you’ll notice a long line of buses,vans,and cars that could be your customers if you had the sense to give two shits.I hope every one of you assholes retires broke and alone and starves under a rat infested bridge because of the pain that you have caused to the people that have tried to use your airline.Oh,and have a nice day…

  26. asaground says:

    ASA is a horrible airline to fly on or work for! Management doesn’t care about anything except money!! ASA is one of the worst corporate greed places going. They intentionally oversells everyone of their flights in hopes that a passenger or two will not show up so they get to keep the money and not provide a service.

    I have worked for ASA for quite a few years now and have been treated like I am worth less than the dirt I walk on…not by the passengers, but by MANAGEMENT!

    The pilots are no better than management. In fact, they’re the root cause of the airline’s very poor on time performance. They purposely delay the flights by taking their sweet time going through the checklist or suddenly finding something wrong with the aircraft when it was perfectly fine half and hour before that. ASA pilots make $100/hour literally! And this for some reason is not good enough for them, which is why they create delays. To any pilots reading this, try making $12/hour and getting yelled at all day by both passengers and management…your job won’t seem so bad after that!!!!

    The bottom line is extremely poor management and corporate greed! I hope someone from ASA reads this and is brave enough to contact me for the truth behind their terrible ariline!

  27. asaground says:

    @bobbwa: Exactly how much do you drink from the “company water cooler”? If you fly into my station, I’ll show you exactly how crappy this company is and how management mistreats the employees!

  28. Jumperdumper says:

    I dont work for ASA but am a pilot, and as for the $100 an hour, what a crock. First year copilots get $23 an hour and that is only for min of 75 a month or 100 a month max. Do the math compared to your 160 hrs a month and its a pretty close race to yours. Pilots are professionals in a lifestyle that is not as glamourous as some might think. You guys arent the only ones getting yelled at by customers and management!!

  29. Bobbwa says:

    Did any of you know that ASA and their pilots have come to agreements on their contracts. That means that the DOT numbers are up and ASA took the top spot in completion for all regional carriers with an April completion factor of 99.5 percent, which jumped significantly from 98 percent in March. When adjusted for weather and ATC delays, ASA’s April completion factor was an impressive 99.86 percent.

    ASA was in the middle of the pack for on-time performance, ranking 10th out of all 20 reporting carriers – a dramatic improvement from our bottom-of-the-list rankings in 2007. On-time arrivals in April improved significantly to 77 percent from 69.1 percent in March, and ASA’s April on-time departure rate (D-0) was 64.55 percent, up from 50.71 percent in March. When adjusted for weather and ATC issues, our on-time performance for April jumps to 87.47 percent. Overall, ASA ranked third among all regional airlines for this metric. So that means that your flight didn’t cancel 99.5 percent of the time and it was on time 64.55 percent of the time. If you take weather and ATC delays out of that it turns into 87.47 percent. So guess what, you actually arrived on time. And for asaground, you work for an airline, you know that every airline oversells flights because they know that people don’t show up. And if you hate your job so much then quit, no one is making you stay there to work. There has to be something there that you like otherwise you wouldn’t be there.

    Follow this link to read the DOT’s June report of April 2008 performance in its entirety: []

  30. asaground says:


    If you don’t work for ASA, you have ZERO right to even make a statement about how employees are treated! If you ever get a job with ASA (I would advise against it), then you will know exactly what I am talking about!

  31. asaground says:


    Your comments are written like a true “better and holier than thou” management moron! What spin doctor did you copy and paste that glowing performance record from? Probably more than you pay peons that work the front lines on a daily basis.

    If ASA is so fantastic, why is it when an employee gets hurt on the job, management couldn’t care less about the welfare of the employee? In fact, and I do mean “IN FACT” (it’s documented with the cretans in ATL), management fires the employee because they’re hurt! Nothing like tossing a human being aside because they’re “useless” huh? But since management only cares about themselves, it’s not overly surprizing they would do something so completely heartless.

    If you love ASA so much, why don’t you turn down your next raise? Better yet, why don’t you give some of it back? It’ll help the company!

    As for overselling flights, management keeps statistics of how many people show up per oversold flight. When the record shows that everyone shows up for a specific flight all the time, then that flight should NOT be oversold! All that does is piss off passengers and get the counter people yelled at for absolutely NO good reason. But then management wouldn’t know anything about the last part since they NEVER help when it’s needed!

  32. Bobbwa says:

    I know this is an old topic but things really have gotten better with ASA. Ever since the Pilot contract went through the on time performance numbers have jumped from 50 percent to almost 95 percent. And you know you have rights when you fly, like if the flight has maintenance they can put you on another airline free of charge. The only thing that they can’t do anything about is weather issues and in ATL that is 90 percent of what they have.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Obviously this was back in 2007.. yes things were bad! now in 2009, I must say its much better..The problem is in routing and the way the company handles things.. First off, The flight attenadants do not show up drunk..and furthermore, bags that get lost? well you can finally put the blame where it should be.. Delta! ASA does not have a ground crew.. Im tired of hearing bad things ASA does.. The people who you look at, that would be F/A and Pilots, not gate, ground etc, that is ASA.. the rest are DELTA employees, So when you are frustrated, you know so is the put the blame where it should be, the company, not the crew..THANK YOU

  34. TechnoDestructo says:

    Alaska Airlines has an excuse, in that a significant fraction of their flights are in or out of Juneau. (Every damn flight in Southeast Alaska tries to land in Juneau.) About half of the time, planes cannot get in or out of Juneau due to weather.