It's hard for an industry to be more hated than insurance or telemarketing, but airlines have been trying for decades. Whether it's charging $50 to check one bag or bumping paying customers at a moment's notice, it truly seems like they couldn't give half a damn about their passengers.
Then, on some occasions, they really put in the extra effort to openly make the customers overtly hate them. For example...
7"Sorry, ma'am, but we mishandled your luggage. With fire."
Everybody who parts with their luggage at the airport does so with a twinge of nerves; afraid their bags will end up in some other city, or that some crazed baggage handler will sneak off to some private room to start trying on their undergarments. So when a United Airlines employee approached Shannon Tadel and asked to speak with her privately about a problem with her luggage, she probably assumed the worst.
We're guessing even by assuming the worst she was not prepared for when the man said that her bags were on fire.
As it turns out, Shannon's luggage was placed too close to an exhaust port on a belt loader, which was so hot it ignited the bags. She thought it was a prank until the pilot revealed himself to not be Ashton Kutcher and pointed out a Tarmac crew attempting to extinguish her clothing with a fire hose.
To make matters worse, her smoldering, water-logged luggage wouldn't be allowed on the flight. We're not sure if this was some kind of regulation or if they just wanted to see the look on her face.
United apparently thought that a first class upgrade was enough of an apology for destroying a bag full of her clothing, and didn't respond to her reimbursement claim. They forced her to jump through many hoops and even dry-cleaned her destroyed clothing to try and lower the amount of the claim.
As usually happens, they kept running her through a maze of bullshit before Tadel went out and got the story made public via the Chicago Tribune. Suddenly United was all about pleasing the customer, becoming very compliant and apologetic, issuing her a check to cover her loss and assuring her that in no way did the public embarrassment factor into their decision to replace the possessions they set ablaze.
6"Either pay up, or leave your infant with me."
A fairly standard rule in the airline industry is that children under two can fly for free if they can sit in a parent's lap, at least on domestic flights. International flights generally levy a 10 percent charge on the parent's ticket, called a baby fare, we guess for the extra gas it takes to transport a baby.
Probably varies according to size of the baby
So Brian Burns paid for his tickets to Greece, took his infant son and had a wonderful trip. Then when it was time to return to America, he went to the Athens airport where he was told he'd have to pay a little more to get his child back home.
And by a little more, we mean $320. That's how much the fuel surcharge was on the baby ticket that Delta Airlines forced Burns to buy to get his kid on the plane to return home. They had managed to not bring this up when Burns was buying his ticket in America to get to Greece. The options were basically either pay the fare, or dump the child at a Greek orphanage and go back without him.
Though we guess for less than $320 he could probably have just mailed the baby back. Just stick lots of Styrofoam peanuts in there and some jars of baby food...