Service and Hospitality Largely Influence Airline Passenger Satisfaction

New report on airline passenger satisfaction ranks Alaska Airlines as most-preferred traditional carrier and JetBlue Airways as frontrunner for low-cost carriers By: Valerie Chen
A focus on customer service creates loyalty with travelers. // © 2015 Thinkstock
A focus on customer service creates loyalty with travelers. // © 2015 Thinkstock

The Details

J.D. Power and Associates
www.jdpower.com

What:
A new report from J.D. Power and Associates studied passenger satisfaction among business and leisure travelers on traditional and low-cost carriers. The results are based on factors including cost and fees; in-flight services; flight crew; boarding, deplaning and baggage; aircraft; check-in; and reservations.

Why It Matters:
J.D. Power and Associates’ “2015 North America Airline Satisfaction Study” found that carriers focusing on service gain higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. Hospitality in the form of amenities is also a prominent factor. In addition, the study reveals that the likelihood of satisfaction is higher when customers select an airline for services or experience, rather than price or convenience. Alaska Airlines is the frontrunner of preferred traditional carriers among survey participants, and Delta Air Lines and American Airlines rank second and third, respectively. For low-cost carriers, JetBlue Airways is No. 1, followed by Southwest Airlines.

Fast Facts:
- The study based rankings on a 1,000-point scale.

- Overall satisfaction among passengers who selected an airline based on its reputation or customer service averages 812.

- Of the individuals who were more concerned with reputation, 54 percent indicate they “definitely will” fly with that airline again, and 65 percent indicated they “definitely will” recommend the airline to others.

- Of the individuals who were more concerned with customer service, 54 percent indicated they “definitely will” fly with that airline again, and 66 percent indicated they “definitely will” recommend the airline to others.

- On the same point scale, overall satisfaction among passengers who selected an airline based on lower price averages 732. Of those individuals, twenty-nine percent indicate that they “definitely will” fly with that airline again, while 37 percent “definitely will” recommend the airline to others.

- Overall satisfaction with major North American airlines improved, from 712 in 2014 to 717 in 2015.

- Overall satisfaction with traditional carriers improved, from 683 in 2014 to 691 in 2015.

- Overall satisfaction with low-cost carriers improved, from 763 in 2014 to 766 in 2015.

What They Are Saying:
“Many airlines realize that they are not in a commodity business and that hospitality and service go a long way in differentiating them from the other airlines,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead for J.D. Power. “Hospitality and service impact loyalty and return on investment with a high percentage of loyal passengers who are better advocates for the airline.”

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