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Rude staff, fees top traveler gripes

By A. Pawlowski, CNN
A new survey finds that air travelers are as annoyed by poor communication about flight delays as the delays themselves.
A new survey finds that air travelers are as annoyed by poor communication about flight delays as the delays themselves.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Survey asked people about their experiences with airlines, hotels and rental car agencies
  • Rude or unhelpful staff came in as the biggest gripe in both the hotel and rental car categories
  • Rude staff was also among the top three airline gripes, along with luggage charges and fees
  • Seatmates who hog your space were rated almost as annoying as flight delays in the survey
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(CNN) -- Travelers are exposed to all sorts of indignities on the road, but the rude service employees they encounter along the way seem to trump most other in-transit frustrations, a new survey finds.

Consumer Reports asked 2,000 people across the country to rate their annoyance about their experiences with airlines, hotels and rental car agencies on a scale of 1 ("not annoyed at all") to 10 ("tremendously annoyed").

The results appear in the magazine's June issue.

Rude or unhelpful staff came in as the biggest gripe in both the hotel and rental car categories, scoring close to an 8 on the scale and beating uncomfortable beds and damaged cars.

Rude staff was also among the top three airline gripes, along with luggage charges and added fees. All those annoyances scored close to or about an 8 in the survey. You can see the full results on ConsumerReports.org.

Which airline has worst food? Rude staff?

But there were also some surprises in the airline category.

Seatmates who hog your space were rated almost as annoying as flight delays in the survey -- both received around a 7 on the annoyance scale.

Meanwhile, crying babies and unruly kids -- which usually have many air travelers fuming -- were actually at the bottom of airline annoyances in the survey, scoring about a 5. The lack of food on flights and standing in line for security received similar middle-of-the-road scores.

"Many people give crying babies and unruly kids on planes a pass and have apparently gotten used to puny airline snacks and long security lines," the magazine said.

"However, older folks are far more ticked off than younger people by those unruly kids on planes."

Fly and cry: Babies divide air travelers

Consumer Reports noted that airlines would be wise to always keep passengers in the loop about any schedule snafus: Poor communication about flight delays was rated as annoying as the delays themselves in the survey.

The magazine also found that women are generally more annoyed than men with their travel experiences.