Do you have a score to pick with that airline you traveled with during your last business trip? Well, that’s not exactly new. Almost everyone who travels by plane is less than impressed, especially when they’re traveling during the peak season. Just in case you want the heads up, below are the top 19 most complained airlines in the USA.

19th Place: Southwest Airlines

Out of every 100,000 passengers of this airline, a total of .21 complains. Just last year, over 100 million passengers who flew them to the Southwest, and compared to the other airlines in this list, there is only one complainant for every 500,000 passengers.

Perhaps it’s the staff’s sunny temperament? The airline ranked No. 1 in the DOT’s list of excellent airlines for three consecutive years. If there are complaints about the airline, their management has done right to keep it to a minimum.

18th Place: ExpressJet Airlines

The ExpressJet Airlines receives a mere .33 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. This is a pretty low score considering the report last 2009 which put ExpressJet on a bad light. Apparently, the airline had to keep its passengers in the airport’s tarmac for more than six hours. What made matters worse was that the tarmac had too few bathrooms for the number of stranded passengers.

There was also no potable water when this happened. We’re happy to announce, though, that this little incident was an irregularity. If anything, that horrible incident even pushed the justice system to come up with rules and regulations regarding passenger treatment in cases of flight delays.

Overall, though, Continental-owned ExpressJet still remained on top of its game when it comes to the airline’s overall performance.

17th: SkyWest Airlines

The regional SkyWest Airlines used to hold the number 18 position among the best airlines in the USA. However, due to growing baggage and flight complaints lodged by its passengers, it dropped to the number 19 position. It’s still not that bad for a regional airline, but you probably want to look for better options if you want a spotless traveling experience.

16th: Alaska Airlines

The Alaska Airlines gets 1 complaint out of 50,000 passengers. This is still a pretty good figure considering the size of the company. In fact, among eight of US’s major air freights, Alaska Airlines gets the top rank when it comes to customer satisfaction. Even if there’s a possibility that you’ll be that one out of 50,000 passengers who’s going to be unhappy with the service, the Alaska Airlines is a safe enough choice.

15th: Mesa Airlines

With only .61 out of 100,000 passengers lodging complaints about the Mesa Airlines, its overall performance is certainly improving. Records have it that since 2008, less passengers have had bad things to say about the airline’s baggage and flight handling. The Mesa Airlines is a regional provider for other airlines including the United, US Airways, and the Delta.

14th: American Eagle Airlines

Out of 100,000 passengers, only .64 of them complain about American Eagle Airlines. They are affiliated with the American Airlines, and is currently the USA’s biggest regional carrier. The good thing is that the complaints for this airline have dramatically lessened. A decrease of up to 62% was recorded since 2008. The leap from being America’s worst airline to one of the best today is impressive.

13th: Atlantic Southeast Airlines

For every 100,000 passengers, .65 of them complain about the Atlantic Southeast Airlines. This airlines runs about 1,000 flights within the U.S. every day. Also improving its overall performance, the airline managed to leap out of the top ten worst airlines across the U.S.A.

12th: Hawaiian Airlines

Getting .74 complaints for every 100,000 passengers, the Hawaiian Airlines grabs a spot in the middle of the pack. While it’s one of the few airlines that are known for its punctuality, it fares so-so in the other areas. Expect to have problems in your fares, disabilities, accommodation or baggage when you’re flying with them.

For the fares, in particular, the Hawaiian Airlines is pretty famous for posting incomplete information, and even overcharging its passengers.

11th: Pinnacle Airlines

This airlines receives .79 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. It is a pretty punctual airline as well, operating more than 700 of Delta’s Connection flights every day. While it still plays too closely to the top ten most complained airlines across the US, the performance of the airlines notably improved since 2008.

10th: JetBlue Airways

While receiving .85 complaints for every 100,000 passengers which puts it at the number 10 spot for most complained airlines, the JetBlue Airways nonetheless gets the best ratings out of all low-cost carriers across the U.S.A. While the DOT’s factsheet probably won’t back up the award, JetBlue is still on the lower leg of this list, which means that it’s not half as bad as the other airlines.

9th: Frontier Airlines

The Frontier Airlines received .92 complaints out of every 100,000 of its passengers. Back in 2008, this used to be one of the best airlines in the U.S.A. Unfortunately, the MidWest Airlines’ sister company did not fare so well, this year. To its defense, though, this is the first time it’s included in this list, at least in the last three years.

8th: AirTran

Receiving .97 complaints for every 100,000 passengers, it’s a mystery why AirTran remains at the number eight spot. DOT did admit that the airline received less complaints in 2009 compared to the previous years. The biggest complaint seems to be how AirTran refuses to rearrange its flights to other airlines simply because they don’t have a full-service carriage contract.

7th: Continental Airlines

Getting 1.00 complaints for every 100,000 passengers, Continental is still faring pretty badly. This is despite its performance improvement compared to the previous year. Watch out for the planned merge with United. The merging could cause a lot of problems for both parties, dragging the new airline further up this list.

6th: Comair

With 1.03 complaints for every 100,000 passengers, Comair is still in pretty bad shape. Word has it that it actually moved one spot down this list, but it still spells things pretty badly for the airline. A huge amount of complaints for this airline is about flight delays. For 2009, Comair actually rated the poorest for punctuality among U.S. Airlines.

5th: American Airlines

The American Airlines, sadly, receives 1.07 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. Despite this horrendous number of complainants, the American Airlines seems to be improving its performance every year.

4th: Northwest Airlines

What on earth happened to Northwest Airlines? This seems to be the common question among passengers who have witnessed the airline’s 8 spots drop. For 2009, it received 1.31 complaints for every 100,000 passengers. So what happened to it? We suspect it’s the merge with Delta Airlines, which was actually done to improve the airline’s rankings.

Unfortunately, the merging of the two airlines gave birth to a more complicated ticketing system which annoyed most of its patrons.

3rd: US Airways

Garnering 1.31 complaints for every 100,000 passengers, the 3rd place goes to US Airways. The good news (at least for its staff) is that this is actually a two-step improvement. The US Airways placed first in this list last 2008 with a total of 2.01 complaints per 100,000 passengers. The airline’s weakness stays the same: they still commit a lot of mistakes when it comes to ticketing, reservations, and boarding.

That’s highly inconvenient if you had a tight business trip scheduled.

2nd: United Airlines

With 1.34 complaints lodged for every 100,000 passengers, the United Airlines is certainly not the airline you’d want to fly with if you won’t to dodge mishandled luggage, and delayed or cancelled flights. The airline’s score is probably improving (it had 1.86 complaints on its shoulders in 2008) but placing 2nd in this list is still pretty harsh.

1st: Delta

The worst airline to fly with is the Delta Airlines, based on the DOT list. This airline received the most number of complaints among US airlines. With 1.96 complaints for every 100,000 passengers, Delta certainly needs to step up on its game. Among the major problems reported by passengers are baggage handling, ticket reservations, and flight delays or cancellations.

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