Consumer Reports Rates Top Airlines, Car Rental Companies

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you’re flying somewhere and renting a car, then you already know you’re not just paying for the ticket and the vehicle anymore.

Fees are jacking up the costs for both.

Consumer Reports took a look at airlines and rental car companies to see which ones are the best and worst.

What they found was that the friendly skies aren’t always so friendly.

“We asked almost 15,000 subscribers to rate their overall satisfaction with the airlines and also things like seat comfort and service,” Greg Daugherty from Consumer Reports said.

US Airways was at the bottom of the ratings.

“US Airways got very low ratings for cabin-crew service, baggage handling, seat comfort, and entertainment options,” Daugherty said.

United Airlines didn’t do much better.

With most airlines, one of the biggest complaints was high fees.

Southwest was the top-rated airline and 93 percent of people said they didn’t have to pay fees for services like checking bags, choosing a seat, or for food and drinks.

“Southwest is one of the few airlines that lets you check two bags for free. And it was the only airline that had the highest scores for cabin-crew service and check-in,” Daugherty said.

JetBlue came in at number two in the survey. It was the only airline to receive a high rating for its in-flight entertainment and its seats generally have more leg room.

So, once you get to your final destination, you’ll need a rental car.

Consumer Reports found plenty of rental car companies charging customers for things like child safety seats, satellite radio, emergency roadside assistance and even the privilege of using EZ Pass.

Consumer Reports Shopsmart checked fees at the nine big rental companies, including Enterprise, Hertz, Avis and Dollar.

“Car rental companies don’t make it easy to find the charges on their websites. But they certainly do a great job of loading on the fees when you return the car,” Lisa Lee Freeman from Consumer Reports said.

For instance, to add a second driver could tack on another $13 to $30 a day.

If the second driver is under 25-years-old, the fee can jump to more than $100 dollars a day.

If you lose the key,that can cost you $375.

You should also be especially careful about picking up the car in one place and dropping it off in another.

“The lowest drop-off charge we found was $50. But, believe it or not, in some cases Avis charges as much as $1,000 to drop off a car in another location,” Freeman said.

At Avis, if you return a car even 30 minutes late, you’ll be charged for nearly a full day.

With any car rental, be sure to fill up the tank before you drop off to avoid paying extra-high prices for gas.

However, there is some good news.

Starting later this year, airlines will be required to include all fees and taxes in their advertised fares.

As for the rental car companies, Consumer Reports said the number one thing to remember is to pay with a credit card.

That way, you can dispute any inaccurate charges.


More Local News
More Consumer News
More From Consumer Reports

  • Daniel

    Just another great reason to take Amtrak!

  • 600 to 60 flights

    Who would have guessed USAirways was the lowest? Been to the airport lately? 125 gate, ultra modern, state of the art airport virtually abandon. And all the jobs that went with it.

    They could operate the entire flight schedule out of one terminal and close off the rest just like they did for the “E” gates and the ends of the “A” and “B” wings. This would save the tax payers millions a year in upkeep. Know who’s paying for all that unused gate space? YOU ARE.

    The people of Pittsburgh spoke, including ex major Murphy. They didn’t like the high fares in our old 600 flights a day hub. They drove to Ohio to get a cheaper flight. It was political and USAirways won, because now we the tax payers are paying for the cheaper flights including subsidizing the Delta flight to Paris.

    Lets not forget that you the tax payers and the county also subsidized Southwest’s entry into the PIT market. They brought nothing in the way of jobs to this area. Only a cheaper way out of here. All bought and payed for by you.

    You can always judge a cities viability by it’s airport and mass transportation. One needs to look no further than PIT to see how we are doing in this area. Thanks again to you leaders of Pittsburgh, you played hardball with a company and lost and now we the tax payers are paying for your lack of leadership.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Bringing You The Best in Sports Talk Radio
Download And Win Today!

Listen Live