As the number of people travelling by air increases exponentially, it is gratifying to note that, according to a new study from J.D. Power, passenger satisfaction levels are at record highs – at least in North America.
Among the key findings of J.D. Power’s 2019 North America Airline Satisfaction Study are that overall satisfaction with airlines on the part of their passengers has been increasing for eight consecutive years, rising by 11 points over the last 12 months and reaching a total of 773 points. Traditional carriers are seeing the highest levels of satisfaction, with this segment enjoying a 22-point increase in overall satisfaction in 2019 compared with 2018, while the low-cost segment, while it has higher overall satisfaction than the traditional segment, declined six points between last year and this year.
The most satisfying elements of the airline travel experience, according to study respondents, are reservation and check-in, a trend driven by investments in digital technology, self-service kiosks and the like, but in-flight service seems to be stubbornly unimpressive for passengers, with these elements of the experience – such as entertainment, food and so on – being ranked lowest by passengers.
“Airlines continue to deliver on the operational side of air travel,” said J.D. Power’s Travel Intelligence Lead Michael Taylor. “New technology investments have dramatically improved the reservation and check-in process. Fleets are newer and travellers generally feel that they are getting great value for their money. These improvements have been most profound in the traditional carrier segment, where customer satisfaction has climbed considerably. While low-cost carriers have historically had the highest levels of customer satisfaction in our study, due to a strong sense of value for money among customers, that line is starting to blur as traditional carriers improve their services and operations. The one area where both traditional and low-cost carriers can still improve, however, is in in-flight services.”