According to a recent survey, customers have grown increasingly displeased with the North American airline industry, with satisfaction ratings dropping, after two years of improvement. United Airlines and US Airways scored the lowest of traditional carriers, while Alaska Airlines ranked the highest for the fifth straight year.
J.D. Power and Associates conducted the annual survey, which was ranked on a 1,000 point scale with more than 13,500 passengers weighing in on categories including cost and fees, in-flight services, boarding and deplaning processes, and flight crew behavior. Overall, fliers gave airlines an index score of 681, down from 683 last year.
"The airline industry is caught between trying to satisfy customers who demand low prices, high-quality service and comfort, and contending with the economic challenges of profitably operating an airline," Stuart Greif, vice president and general manager of the global travel and hospitality practice at J.D. Power said in a statement. "Passengers want it all, but they are not necessarily willing to pay for it all."
Low-cost carriers' rankings improved for the third year in a row, reaching 754. JetBlue Airways was the lead spot – for the seventh consecutive time – followed by Southwest Airlines.
Customers said that their top pet peeve was paying fees for checked baggage. Travelers who paid the extra bucks averaged 85 points lower in satisfaction than their peers who didn't pay. In addition, consumers who opted to check in with a mobile device – rather than curbside, on the computer or at a kiosk – were the happiest. Smartphone check ins more than doubled since last year, the survey said.
While not every company can guarantee to always satisfy every single customer, it can at least be sure that each individual consumer has their voice heard. With the use of a third party answering service managers can rest assured that a professional service representative will work with each customer to ensure the highest possible satisfaction.