The latest travel industry customer satisfaction rankings are in, and well, it's not great news for airlines.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) published their latest ratings this week, and the airline industry as a whole only scored 69 on a 100 point scale, putting it near the bottom of the list. Keeping airlines company down there were subscription TV, social media and the IRS - yikes! Why did airlines perform so poorly as a group? Passengers point to poor in-flight service and uncomfortable, cramped seating.
Here's how the individual airlines scored on customer service:
- Aggregated group of smaller airlines (Spirit, Alaska Airlines, Frontier, etc)
- US Airways
JetBlue led the pack for the third year in a row, unsurprisingly (having recently flown with them, the unlimited name-brand in-flight snacks and individual TVs were a huge perk). Delta, the highest rated legacy airline, saw big improvements in their rankings this year which ACSI attributes to a recovery after the Northwest merger. A merger is also blamed for United's last place finish; the ACSI cites frequent and ongoing reservation and refund problems stemming from the Continental merger three years ago as the thorn in United's side. Heads up American and US Air - your scores could take a hit for the next few years until you get your sea legs!
An interesting finding on airline fees driving passenger behavior is the number of fliers paying to check bags dropped four percent from 35% last year, which indicates that passengers are packing more carry-ons, or choosing airlines that have a one free checked bag allowance. Those that are still paying to check their bags aren't happy about it - their reported customer satisfaction was much lower than those who didn't pay the fee.
It's not all gloom and doom for airlines though - the pre-boarding process (ease of booking, airline websites, and check-in process all received high marks from travelers.
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