I really feel for you Americans...your airlines are up to no good!! HELL, if a flight here in South Africa is half an hour late, the flightcrew get yelled at from here to Cairo!! "I'm going to miss my meeting because of this delay!" and "On my ticket, it says take off is at 12:00 so why did we take off at 12:30???!". Bitch bitch bitch bitch. And when the flight is good, nothing gets said. But that's what customers are, and whether the airlines like it or not, they have to make them happy. And they cannot kick you off their flights, and not put you on another one! It just shouldn't happen. Maybe if they paid their pilots more (with the number of aircraft and flights per day US airlines have, they should have enough money), then I'm sure they wouldn't get so many complaints! I think it all comes down to bad management. They know they've got such a HUGE market in the US, so they take advantage of it. I mean if a company's customers create a website like this one, http://www.untied.com or http://www.northworst.com, then they are in serious trouble. A company must be dumb to keep it's service so low that these websites appear!
And the service on your airlines isn't good either. When I flew from MIA-Orlando (forgot the code), I was only served a carton (not even a glass!) of minute maid Orange Juice. And it was the morning flight!!! Gimme a break! The flight time is 58 minutes. On a Johannesburg - Durban flight, which is 50 minutes, you would receive breakfast and a full drinks service.
However, I have actually had good experiences on Delta. I flew from La Guardia to Washington aboard Delta Shuttle in 1995, and the service was very good. Also from Washington to Orlando, the service was equally good.
I really feel sorry for you guys. The thing that you are missing in the states is a very good major carrier, that could offer competition to the others. It would be difficult though, because they're all so incredibly big, but, I dunno, maybe it could be done!
She rulez the world!