A new study shows that American customers are unhappy with the quality of service in the airline industry.
- J.D. Power’s North America Airline Satisfaction Study was released on Wednesday, showing that customer satisfaction with airline services continues to decrease.
- Satisfaction decreased for the second year in a row, as high ticket prices and crowded planes stressed passengers, while labor shortages and freak weather events stressed airlines.
- Airlines have celebrated enhanced revenues in the last two quarters due to high demand and lower expenses, but this has come at the expense of customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power.
- JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines are reporting the highest satisfaction, with first-class/business section passengers reporting increased customer satisfaction during the period of the study.
Why It’s Important
The report comes at a poor moment for the overall airline industry, which is suffering tremendous structural stress and scrutiny from the government. This summer is expected to be a record-setting and chaotic year for travelers. High demand stresses the airline system and could potentially set up another crisis similar to the December Southwest crisis. The study warns that airlines stand the risk of brand damage if current trends continue.
The study additionally comes after the Biden administration’s announcement on Monday that it will change Transportation Department rules to require airlines to compensate passengers for cancellations, delays, and incurred expenses. President Joe Biden has made reforming airline rules a key focus this year, particularly in the aftermath of recent mass cancellations.
“If yield management were the only metric airlines needed to be successful in the long term, this would be a banner year for the industry because they are operating at peak economic efficiency. From the customer perspective, however, that means planes are crowded, tickets are expensive, and flight availability is constrained. While these drawbacks have not yet put a dent in leisure travel demand, if this trend continues, travelers will reach a breaking point, and some airline brands may be damaged,” says J.D. Power lead Michael Taylor.