Waiting in line at the airport, flight delays and increased baggage fees have been a growing source of frustration for air travellers over the years, but the good news is, the industry has taken steps to do something about it. J.D. Power & Associates recently released its latest North American airline satisfaction study which shows that satisfaction has improved to the highest levels since 2006.
The biggest drivers of satisfaction this year were gains in boarding/deplaning/baggage, check-in and aircraft.
Baggage fees continue to be a source of discontent among passengers, airlines are making progress. The impact of these fees is less pronounced than in the past, because each year passengers are increasingly more accepting of carriers unbundling baggage and other fees.
The impact of technology has made a significant difference in the way people view the check-in process. More than 35% of passengers check-in to their flight online. And, 15% use a mobile device to check-in, which is more than double the 6% who used a similar device two years ago.
Social media channels are used frequently to market to customers and provide services and support.
While technology has made things easier for travelers, the power of the smile has gone a long way to improving satisfaction. The industry is improving the customer experience, with both carrier segments achieving an eight-year high for passenger satisfaction with flight crews in 2013.
Aviation Week’s managing editor commercial, Jens Flottau, commented on the results: “Traditional airlines are being watched closely for customer service, particularly after they have been allowed to form three big groups in the past few years. It is in their own interest to continue to work on service levels.”
J.D Power & Associates, like Aviation Week, is a McGraw-Hill Financial business.