Wednesday, 28 May 2014

US passengers accept higher flying costs

DESPITE passengers having to pay more to fly, overall satisfaction with airlines has improved for the second consecutive year, driven primarily by an increase in satisfaction with cost and fees, according to the J.D. Power 2014 North America Airline Satisfaction Study.

The study measures passenger satisfaction with North America airlines based on performance in seven factors including cost and fees, in-flight services, boarding, baggage,  flight crew, check-in, and reservation.

At a time when tickets prices are rising due to airline consolidation, fuel costs, additional taxes and fees, and new efforts by airlines to increase revenue, overall passenger satisfaction with airlines is at a record high of 712 (on a 1,000-point scale).

"It isn't that passengers are satisfied with fees; it's that they are simply less dissatisfied because they realize that fees have become a way of life with air travel," said Rick Garlicky at J.D. Power. ‘Passengers are over the sticker shock of being charged more to fly, having to pay for checked bags, expedited security clearance, or for preferred seating.’

Garlick says airlines are easing the price pain by adding value in such other areas as easier check-in processes and additional in-flight services such as Wi-Fi. 

‘The airline industry is doing a better job of pleasing passengers, but there still is a lot of room for improvement,’ said Garlick. ‘Satisfaction in improving, but it's a stretch to say passengers are truly happy.’

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