Airline Customer Satisfaction Continues Decline

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire URN:15449317 (Press Association via AP Images)
Owen Humphreys/PA Wire via AP

A poll of air travelers finds that levels of customer satisfaction is continuing a steep decline.

Now in its 25th year, the Airline Quality Rating conducted by Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has found a decline in customer satisfaction for several years.

The survey tracks on-time landings and departures, baggage handling, complaints, and other marks of customer satisfaction. Complaints are high, especially about mishandled baggage, which rose another 11 percent over last year’s decline.

“[Complaints] are up 20-25 percent this year over last year and they were up before that so they [customers] are complaining more about a system that just is not working,” Dean Headley of Wichita State University said.

Headley reports that customer satisfaction hasn’t been this low since 2008.

Many airline customers complain of being nickel and dimed with a wider range of charges for services. Customers are also complaining more about less comfort in the air, with a loss of leg space due to more seats being stuffed onboard as airlines look to grow the bottom line.

“There is a lot of consolidation and a lot of mergers so there is a lot of turmoil and I think that is playing itself out to the customer to have a poor experience when they do fly,” Headley said. “They just seem to have not gotten their act together.”

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