Fliers Are Officially Fed Up With Crappy Airline Service

You may be thinking to yourself, “Congratulations, you’ve written the world’s most obvious headline!” And you’d be right, but according to J.D. Power and associates there could be something of a sea change going on in the universe of airline complaints. It seems that crappy customer service may have reached a Gladwellian “tipping point” — more customers are choosing which airline to fly based on factors other than price.

Price declined as the most frequently reported reason for choosing a carrier in 2008, down to 39 percent of survey respondents.

The fact that consumers claim to value good customer service, but routinely choose to give their business to the carrier with the lowest fare, is usually blamed for the current trend towards higher fees and awful customer service. J.D. Power & Associates concluded that airlines should invest in their employees to improve customer service before its too late…

“Across the airline experience, from check-in, to the flight, to deplaning, passengers are being affected by the ramifications of carriers making staff cutbacks and have expressed that performance and attitudes of airline staff are suffering,” said Sam Thanawalla, director of the global hospitality and travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “In this unstable industry environment, it is critical that airlines invest in their employees as a means to enhance the customer experience, as there is a strong connection between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Those airlines that focus on keeping their employees informed and motivated will be better able to change negative consumer sentiment and truly differentiate themselves.”

Can an airline’s service get bad enough to make you pay more to avoid a certain airline?

In other news, JetBlue ranked highest overall in their survey for the third straight year.

Overall Satisfaction in the Airline Industry Declines to a Three-Year Low Primarily Due to People Factors, Rather than High Prices [JD Power]
(Photo: whatatravisty )