I can’t comment on individual experiences - every airline has its moments.
But AA has a very good safety record. Better than CA or KAL. And super cheap. I often fly for less than USD25. Even TPE to Penang was only $75. But, yeah, the ground crew can be hit or miss. They are usually young, untrained and lowly motivated.
And the pilots have a LOT of experience. I talked to one pilot who had been driving a bus for 10 years before he got his pilot’s license!
I worked with KAL after their Guam tragedy. We nicked name them “Krash A Lot”. Pilots were horribly arrogant ex-fighter pilots that couldn’t speak English well enough in order a beer. We purged most of them and service also has improved. But KAL is super expensive most of the time.
CA is horrible incompetent on the ground. They ripped off my mom for $100 once. The worst was I had a flight from Korea to Taipei to LA. Since a typhoon was moving towards Taiwan they moved the flight up by 6 hours. They just didn’t bother to tell anyone.
Actually, the problem in Asia - with all airlines - is they lack well trained pilots with sufficient experience. The US has a huge military that trains pilots and they get a lot of experience before flying commercial. We also have a huge cargo fleet that also gives newbies solid experience. Plus, there is the CAP and many people getting private licenses before going to commercial pilot school. In Asia I meet people who are attending commercial pilot school and they can’t even drive a car.
Locally I don’t care much who I fly - AA, Scoot (AKA Tiger), Cebu, whatnot. They are all pretty much the same.
I avoid United for USA flights. Shit in all aspects.
My best recent flights were:
ANA - Chicago / Haneda / KUL. New Dreamliner and great service from the ladies (they make everyone feel ‘special’).
Sing Air - LAX / SEOUL / Penang. Our flight happened to be on my daughter’s birthday. They even brought out a cake and sung happy birthday! I couldn’t get them to light the candles though…