Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Your relationship with your airline is a romantic affair.

You can have an airline that you quite like. You can even believe you love an airline.

If you fly often enough, though, they all let you down, one way or another.

Some, though, still hover in the category of "not always bad," or even "actually apologized when they messed up."

But which are the worst?

Travel and rewards site The Points Guy has just released its rankings of US airlines.

Some of it is familiar. All of it is not.

You might imagine that Alaska Airlines is top and Spirit is at the bottom.

But look who sits there are number 2. No, it's not Virgin America. It's United, the airline that's just introduced its Sub-Cattle Class.

How odd that one of the big clunker airlines is so near the top.

Virgin America -- now owned by Alaska -- came third and JetBlue fourth.

The most striking result, at least for me, was seventh place (out of 10). This was occupied by Delta.

Yes, the airline that boasts the best on-time arrivals rate, the one that behaves as if it's slightly more sophisticated than the other heffalumpers.

Indeed, in this survey Delta came in the top three in arrival times and customer satisfaction with its service.

This was largely outweighed by customers believing that it's the worst value-for-money.

It wasn't just regarded as significantly more expensive. It's also believed to enjoy a severe proclivity for nickel--and-diming.

I asked Delta how it felt to be seen as something of a money-grabber and will update, should a comment soar from its corporate cockpit.

I wonder if Delta's own research has already pointed to this aspect of its brand-image.

Very coincidentally, it's just announced that it's returning meals to its Cattle Class customers. Ones you don't have to pay for, that is.

Could it be that the airline is realizing that all take and no give doesn't quite deliver loyalty?

Or could it be that it thinks it can make even more money from appearing to be just slightly generous?

Published on: Feb 28, 2017
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