People will always complain about flying, but one airline appears to have surpassed the rest in sheer high-profile annoyance. Thanks to epic delays, rows of seats coming undone, and a scathing op-ed from a literary star in The New York Times, American Airlines—slogan: "We Know Why You Fly"—may have sealed the title of the country's least liked airline. Let's walk through the recent history of the airline's publicity nightmares.
Late November/December 2011: Bankruptcy. If you're looking for the root of all evil, it's here. Last year American Airlines filed for bankruptcy, which was no surprise since other American airlines that aren't American (har har)—like United and Delta—have in the past also filed for Chapter 11. But American's situation was a bit different in that the bankruptcy filing allowed them to change up their contracts with unions (pilots included). This would come back to haunt the airline on September 5.
December 2011: Alec Baldwin Throws a Temper Tantrum. Yes, that was an American Airlines flight.
September 4, 2012: Remember Those Contracts? We Don't. Back in December when American filed for Chapter 11, they managed to reach new deals with most of their unions (flight attendants, maintenance workers, etc.), except for one very important group: the pilots. Last month, a judge finally threw out American's standing pilot unions contract. "The decision by Judge Sean H. Lane will now let the Fort Worth-Texas airline lower its pilot payroll," reported the AP at the time. "The judge rejected the union's contention that American is doing much better financially than when it entered bankruptcy protection and didn't need to void the contract." Of course this did not make pilots or their union very happy.