Air travel complaints up an astounding 60%

You say the experience of traveling by air just keeps getting worse and worse?

You're not alone. A new report being released this morning confirms what most of you business travelers already know: The airlines are losing their battle against deteriorating service ... losing badly.

From Associated Press:

The industry posted declines last year in every area of the Airline Quality Rating, amid rising fuel prices, safety problems and bankruptcy filings that shut down three carriers last week alone.

The biggest change was in the rate of consumer complaints, up 60 percent overall. The rate more than doubled at US Airways and Comair, and rose for 15 of the 16 airlines included in the study. The exception was Mesa Airlines.

On-time arrivals dropped for the fifth straight year, with more than one-quarter of all flights late, according to the survey. The rates of passengers bumped from overbooked flights and bags lost, stolen or damaged also jumped in 2007.

At least some of the airlines are showing remarkable consistentcy: Frontier, Northwest, SkyWest, Southwest, United and US Airways all logged declines in every survey category.

More details are to be released at press conference later this morning.

The business model appears irrevocably broken, government has shown itself powerless to help -- or worse -- and, technology can only do so much.

So here's a question if you're headed off somewhere this morning: Have you considered the train?

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