American Airlines

Mired in bankruptcy, recently removed from a labor dispute with pilots, just recovering from an on-time arrival rate that dropped below 60% earlier this year and fighting the government to show it some mercy and allow a merger with U.S. Airways ( LCC), this company still has the audacity to hand out gift cards.

What, is Santa out of coal this year or something?

Just flying this airline in the midst of such instability is a questionable proposition. Investing in a gift card for it is an even less sure bet. The card is nonrefundable, so you're wagering on the airline's future just by buying it. It also comes with a $5 shipping fee if you buy it online, which is about where you're going to buy it unless you're making a trip out to the airport for one. That's $5 to get you a card for a company whose days of being something special in the air are near their end.

Unless you have an enemy you're not looking forward to seeing again, it's hard to advise sending this card to anyone in 2013.

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