Round 22: American Airlines vs Blockbuster

This is Round 22 in our Worst Company in America contest, American Airlines vs Blockbuster.

American Airlines: canceled 3,300 flights last week to make sure some wires were properly wrapped and tied, disrupting travel plans for hundreds of thousands of travelers. Granted, their lives would have been much more disrupted had any of their planes caught fire, but as this repair was on the FAA top list of things to check for, it should have been part of routine maintenance. That aside, American was the most-complained about of the big airlines for the past year, ranking in the tops for complaints about customer service and overall flight problems.

Blockbuster: is a crappy video store dittoed across the face of America. The worst thing about them is that they never have any movies that we like and sometimes they edit controversial movies to make them more mainstream-friendly. And based on reports from our readers, some of their in-store personnel seem to have discs stuck up their bum.

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

STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: Time Warner Cable vs Radioshack, Wellpoint vs Charter Cable, Dell vs Home Depot,
Sears vs Citibank, Wal-Mart vs TJMaxx, Mattel vs ATT, Capital One vs Video Professor, eBay/Paypal vs COX, Apple vs SallieMae, Diebold Vs Pfizer, MTV vs TransUnion, CompUSA vs DirecTV
Target vs Best Buy
Allstate vs Verizon,
DeBeers vs 1800 flowers, Starbucks vs United Airlines,
Exxon vs Crocs, Google Vs Sony, Ticketmaster vs Wachovia, Facebook vs The American Arbitration Association, Comcast vs Menu Foods


Edit Your Comment

  1. theblackdog says:

    Blockbuster just offered to buy Circuit City today…


  2. homerjay says:

    Blockbuster is douchy but AA REGULARLY fucks people in the ass…. and not in the good way.

  3. sleze69 says:

    @theblackdog: Does that make them better or worse?

  4. Zerkaboid says:

    This was a tough one, I really hate Blockbuster, but up against AA, the airline has to take it.

  5. mmstk101 says:

    I’d rather not be able to find a movie I want than have my flight delayed . . . or cancelled.

  6. rbcat says:

    Battle of the Dallas/Fort Worth-based companies today! Considering I live around here (so I’m getting a kick out of these replies) and I’ve not had a bad experience with either, I’m going to have to write in a candidate from somewhere suitable, like a California-based company…


  7. jimv2000 says:

    Damn America Airlines for making sure that all of those angry customers didn’t get on planes with electrical problems!

  8. Beerad says:

    @jimv2000: Pardon my ignorance, but isn’t AA’s problem in that regard that they FAILED to notice the problems in advance or have preventative maintenance in place so that hundreds of thousands of passengers wouldn’t get abruptly screwed?

    Noone’s suggesting the planes should fly if unsafe, merely that the airlines blew it by being caught completely unawares. Am I wrong about this?

  9. Chese says:

    The issues with wiring wasn’t really safety related. It was a power play by the FAA to look tough on the airlines.

  10. Gotta go with AA here. I haven’t been in the air since 9/11, but I do know that Blockbuster is responsible for my Netflix bill going down from $17.95 to $14.95 a month. Competition can be healthy.

  11. DeafChick says:

    I have Netflix and do Fly AA. Kinda disgusted that they were able to fly putting lives at risk.

  12. SlappySquirrel says:

    This seems like a pretty weak paring. I doubt the winner here will survive the next round. Both of these companies are annoying, but neither of them is really over the top in a “Walmart/Best Buy/That Company with the Killer pet food” sort of way.

    I didn’t bother voting on this one.

  13. Toof_75_75 says:

    That picture is absolutely hilarious.

  14. DeepFriar says:

    AA contstantly tries to route me through Dallas, despite my orginiation point or intended destination

  15. Geekybiker says:

    I know a pilot from AA. The whole thing with the wires boils down to they put the wrong size zip ties on, and the opposite direction. They followed the repair when it was merely a suggestion. Since the FAA changed to to a mandate, and the planes were already fixed they left it as is. The recent issue with AA is just a FAA power play to look tough after the SWA thing.

  16. arras says:

    Blockbuster stinks, that’s for sure…but their negligence and incompetence never put lives at risk (that we’re aware of at least).

  17. tschepsit says:

    I’ll still fly with AA – the alternatives aren’t any better. Blockbuster, on the other hand, permanently lost my business 5 years ago, and I have no desire to return.

  18. BigElectricCat says:

    Blockbuster may suck, but if they screw up, it probably won’t cost you as much. Or get you trapped in Fresno or Bangor or someplace far from home.

  19. Ex_EA_Slave says:

    AA can make our lives more difficult. BB erodes personal freedoms by limiting the movies stocked based on outdated morals of their owner. Seems like a pretty simple choice to me.

  20. Sideonecincy says:

    After the fiasco last week for American Airlines, they are going to be leaving a bad taste in people’s mouth for a long time to come.

  21. No Contest. American Airlines.

  22. dotyoureyes says:

    You might as well as “which business model is more doomed — renting movies from a store, or the hub & spoke airline system?”

  23. ktoth04 says:

    I kind of want to give it to Blockbuster just for those awful commercials… but its really no contest… AA

  24. hi says:

    @SlappySquirrel: come on squirrel rock the vote! everyones doin it!

  25. AA is a microcosm of the entire Airline Industry. Maybe if we let foreign airlines operate domestic flights, the healthy competition would alleviate these problems.

  26. sgodun says:

    I’m gonna have to go with AA on this one but I really had to think about it first. I can imagine that a number of people that AA has screwed over has caused a lot more problems than any Blockbuster customer can conceive of.

  27. Pro-Pain says:

    I would never step foot in a Blockbuster store again. I don’t fly ever so my vote goes to Blockbuster.

  28. NickVenture says:

    I work at Blockbuster (so I’m getting a kick out of these replies, etc.) and I’ll vote for Blockbuster. I’ve not ever had to fly but Blockbuster is going downhill with all the crap that we are forced to sell now.

  29. Claystil says:

    I wish blockbuster had been seeded agianst someone else. I feel like they deserve to move to the next round, but certainly AA is a worse company.

  30. drunxor says:

    the blockbuster by my house has crackheads (literally) working there. not to mention theres a door/register at each end of the store and almost always one is left unattended

  31. karmaghost says:

    I’m amazed that Blockbuster has gotten as many votes as it has. Seriously, it’s American Airlines which is an American airline. You can’t get any worse.

  32. bukz68 says:

    Last time I flew on an AA flight they forgot to put a single bag on the plane. I know the blame probably lies between AA and the airport (who hires all baggage handlers). But seriously, how do you leave without having a single checked bag on board? Then they had a very sketchy dude deliver the bag at 1am to my girlfriend’s parent’s house after knocking on every door to the block because the douche couldn’t read the address numbers on the mailbox. Fail.

  33. turk2 says:

    My wife and I went to Blockbuster for the fist time in ages this weekend. The “kid” who checked us out was clearly stoned out of his mind and since we had not rented anything in a long time had to verify everything. I think we were literally there for twenty mins and he was hysterical in a OMG they let you work here kind of way. The manager was walking back and forth behind him and found him just as humourous.

  34. JerseyJarhead says:

    AA is worse because they can trap you on an aircraft for hours on end, or in an airport in a strange city where you know no one and are hungry, tired and filthy. They can ruin your honeymoon or your family’s long-awaited, long-saved-for trip to (God forbid) Disneyland or that booze cruise. The worst that can happen at Cockbuster is they don’t have that sappy movie or the pimply-faced idiot at the counter is rude to you. It’s really no contest…AA wins, shit down.

  35. Angryrider says:


    American Airlines easy!

    They’re a company that can actually make your life hell, as shown above.

    Blockbuster has nothing on them. Besides I can shut that store out of my life, since I don’t need to rent movies, when I can borrow them for free.

  36. rad_matter says:

    American Airlines–the last flight I had with them the flight staff was so happy to be at the airport.

    Then again I was flying into MIA. MIA makes people irritable.

    Other than that my major problem with American is that every flight I’ve had with them has been late coming and going to airports. I’m so happy that I can not use American to fly to my home airport anymore.

  37. Wait, does Blockbuster really edit movies? I thought that was debunked.

    Although I don’t rent from Blockbuster, I do buy used DVDs from them once in awhile if there’s a sale going on. I don’t remember any of the movies having the “this film has been edited for content” message before the film, which any decent studio would mandate. I would hate to find out that my DVDs are actually edited.

    Does anyone have any info other than this article?

    Between the article and the comments, I’m just not sure what to believe.

  38. theblackdog says:

    @sleze69: I still can’t decide, both companies are crap.

  39. most people don’t give credit where credit’s due. There’s be dozens upon dozens of times someone came into our store and they’ve had a late fee for not bringing back a game until like a week after it was due, brought back a new release movie weeks late and they’d say “Well i brought back on time” (obviously lying), but we’d still but a credit on their account to counter their late fee.

  40. Byzantine says:

    I don’t remember if I’ve ever even used AA, but I long ago stopped using Blockbuster.

    Once everything went to DVD format, I couldn’t seem to rent one movie from Blockbuster that wasn’t scratched up to the point of unwatchability. Then their prices started going up. I’d rather just buy a DVD from Target or Wal-Mart for 7 or 10 bucks than rent from Blockbuster.

  41. Buran says:

    @Beerad: No, the problem is that they decided to fix it by screwing over everyone instead of implementing rolling fixes that didn’t cause any problems.

  42. President Beeblebrox says:

    American Airlines, most definitely.

    Blockbuster may suck, but they don’t depend on a Federally-subsidized system to operate. And they have good competition from Netflix, whereas most airlines are uniformly bad.

  43. newfenoix says:

    @homerjay: I live seven miles from DFW international. That is where AA is based and this area was in total uproar.

  44. newfenoix says:

    @Beerad: It wasn’t really a “problem.” The FAA has ruled that the wiring bundles have to be one inch apart. The MD80’s were 1.5 inches apart. The FAA issued an “Airworthiness Directive” against the MD80 and this caused the entire fleet to be grounded until the problem was resolved. What made this so bad is that AA operates over 260 MD80’s. It is their bed-n-butter plane. The FAA has been know for its Gestapo-like tactics since the late 1960’s. The reason that the MD80 is in such wide use is that the EPA and the FAA issued a “noise” rule several years and this caused the world’s most common airliner, the Boeing 727 to be taken out of service because it could not meet the new standard.

  45. JustaConsumer says:

    Come on! Blockbuster is just pure nasty. Their business model was based on late fees. More than 50% of their revenue came from “fees”. This was a set-up. Blockbuster is much worse. bad timing for AA.

  46. @bukz68: At least at SeaTac, the baggage handlers are employed by the airlines, not the airport. I’d think things might tend to run a bit smoother if it was all the same outfit instead of every airline having a different outfit handling bags.

  47. lovelygirl says:

    Flying American Airlines is hell. My mother hates flying with them because of them constantly overbooking flights(yes, all airlines do it, but my mom was pissed bc my uncle had to drive 3 hours each way to/from the airport for 2 days even though she was early to check-in. My uncle lives abroad and it’s very expensive for gas there and for him to take off work to drive my mom to the airport). And this was before flyers’ rights to hotel, etc were being promoted so much.

  48. Wynner3 says:

    very true. I know first hand too, I worked for them for five years.

  49. tape says:

    Blockbuster is no longer relevant, so they shouldn’t even be in this competition.

  50. jamesuss says:

    Blockbuster is most definitely a horrible company. With that said, they do not edit their movies. They receive them as is. They may not always carry the unrated versions, but they do not edit them. This is a complete urban legend.

  51. JustaConsumer says:

    Blockbuster, like Dell, lucked out by seeded against AA. Blockbuster should be carried through to the next round just based on the billions of dollars they made off late fees.

  52. Derek says:

    AA had to really screw up spectacularly in order to out-suck Blockbuster by this clear a margin. They may just be, as Homer S. said, “the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.”

  53. JDAC says:

    I’ve no doubt AA is a terrible company, but my last three flights have been on American, and sorry to say that they really were about as good as it gets.

    Blockbuster is dying too, so I’m kicking them when they’re down with my vote.

  54. Sickofgettingscrewed says:

    The problem with American Airlines is NOT with the recal of the planes… that is a condition of a much larger issue. Lets take a look at how many of the employees who took a pay cut for the COMPANY after 9/11 have gotten their pay and benefits back. The mechanics are now in negotiations with the union and the head company and since AA has taken a first quarter loss, due in fact to the planes being taken out of service AA now once again has the upper hand in the negotiations. Is it a coincidence? NO! Look at how much money the management gets for bonuses. It is an insane way to run a company- screw the guys who are actually making it all work and greedy corp america gets paid. And by the way- mechanics do not get to make decisions on what they begin to repair. They could not have changed those wore bundels without first getting direction from the Corp office. They go by a manual. Feeling better about flying with America’s Largeest Airline? Greedy Corp America spells bad conditions for you amd me.