Customers Hate Airlines -- Who Knew?
"Airlines earn lousy grades for customer service." If that headline surprises you, you must have just arrived from another planet. Airlines are near the top of just about everybody's "hate" list, and for good reason. That fact, in itself, doesn't help you much in deciding which airline to take on your next trip. But it may provide some useful clues about the future.
The most recent headlines came from the impeccably credentialed folks at American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), who have been studying consumer satisfaction across a broad spectrum of American industries since 1994. The June report covers full-service restaurants, hotels, limited-service restaurants, airlines, and express delivery services. And this year's results aren't good for the airlines: As a group, they scored 65 on a scale of 100, compared with scores of 77 to 84 for the other industry segments. Even the Post Office, at 74, outscored the airlines. ACSI notes that, for the year, airlines tied newspapers for the lowest scores among all 47 industries studied.
As is often the case, individual airline scores showed a sizable variation. Southwest, at 81, earned top spot, and the "all others" category, which includes mainly smaller lines, came in second at a respectable 76. But the "big five" legacy lines didn't do so well:
These figures should come as no surprise. Just about every similar scoring puts Southwest, along with "other" lines
But the comparisons with other industries reveal something else about air travel. Overall, as I've been saying for years, even if nothing goes wrong, flying in coach/economy class is generally a miserable experience -- high miserable on the better lines, low miserable on the rest. But year after year most of you put up with it: You grumble, you grouse, you complain, but you don't change your buying behavior. And I believe that's because you buy air travel in a fundamentally different way from the way you buy other products and services. Think a minute -- is there any other important marketplace where you search so diligently for the cheapest available option, without regard to quality? Certainly not with other travel services: You don't all stay at
Now let's look briefly at the other travel-related scores:
-- The overall hotel group scored 77, with comparatively little variation from top (Hilton at 80 and
-- Full-service restaurants did well, overall, at an aggregate 81, with comparatively little variation from top ("All others," probably meaning nonchain outfits, Olive Garden, and stablemate
-- Fast food did almost as well, with an average of 79, but wider variation from
Recent Vacation Ideas & Travel Destinations
- Taking the Kids to Historic Philadelphia
- Taking the Kids to an Ultra-Deluxe Resort
- Pamplona's Running of the Bulls
- The World's Top 10 Cheese Factories
- Customers Hate Airlines -- Who Knew?
- Private Sale Travel Websites Growing Fast
- 11 Rules for a Cheap Summer Vacation
- 10 Best Camp Sites Around the World
- Airlines: New Perk, New Fee
- TSA Makes About-Face On Child Patdowns
- KLM To Power European Flights With Used Cooking Oil
- How to Bargain at Europe's Markets
- Finding a Beach Bargain in the Caribbean and Hawaii
- Taming High Destination Costs
- 10 Best Ice Cream Shops in the World
- Housekeeping Secrets of Your Hotel Towels
- Time to Plan for Fall Vacation
- Smile! It's Summer Vacation
- Is It Any Wonder When Airline Passengers Go Berserk?
- Exploring Europe's Natural Wonders
- Taking the Kids to Baltimore
- Taking the Kids to Orlando for the First Time
- 10 Best Hostels in the World
- What Are the Best Summer Vacation Travel Tips?
- Enjoy a Summer Festival Without Paying Too Much
- Expedia Ties Up with Groupon -- More Good Deals Coming?
- The Oltrepo Pavese: Milan's Secret Tuscany Hinterland
- France's D-Day Beaches: A Powerful Memorial
- Taking the Kids On Road Trips Despite Sky-High Gas Prices
- 10 Most Unique Fountains in the World
- Should Tarmac-Delay Rules Become Law?
- Are Mobile Devices Now Travel Essentials?
- Delta Airlines Adds Semi-Premium Economy
- Croatia's Coastal Delights
- Taking the Kids and Opting For a Small Boutique Hotel
- The 10 Best Open-Air Theaters Across the Globe
- Travelers Rights in Europe
- Airline Rules Were Meant to Be Broken By Elites
- Life Among the Ruins of Budapest
- Top 10 Sensational Summer Music Festivals
- More on the 'Myth' of Unchanged Hotel Bed Sheets
- You Hate Airline Fees and Tight Seats -- Who Knew?
- Taking the Kids to San Francisco's Museums
- Taking the Kids on a Cruise to Europe
- Italy's Ravenna: Once Powerful and Still Glorious
- Top 10 Things to Do in London
- Some People Just Know How to Fly and Some Don't
- Taking the Kids On a Safe and Green Trip to Mexico's Riviera Maya
- Traveling to Europe with Kids
- The Great Passport Flap
- Top 10 Arches
- The Truth About 'Hidden' Airline Fees
- 'Rule 240' Weak, But Not Dead
- Spain's Granada: Moor Than the Sum of its Parts
- Taking the Kids to Monterey
- 10 Great American Street Painting Festivals
- Hotels Don't Always Change the Sheets Between Guests
- Summer Trip? Check Your Plastic
- Frontier Airlines Lowers Change Fees
- Taking the Kids to the Grand Canyon
- Nicaragua's Wheel of Fortune
- Top 10 Most Annoying Kinds of Travelers
- Frequent Flier Program Changes You Can Root For
- Tour Packages a Better Deal -- Really?
- Spring Break in a Day
- Sunday Morning: Vienna-Style
- The Top 'Quality' Airline
- Top 10 Architecturally Stunning Libraries
- Taking the Kids: When a Return Trip Makes You Smile at the Memories
- Airlines Fall in Love with Fuel Surcharges All Over
- How to Plan a Multifamily Vacation
- European Trains: Still a Great Way to Travel
- Renting a Car in Europe
- Taking the Kids: Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii to Try to Make Sense of Ancient History
- Don't Ignore Travel Scam Warnings
- Top Ten Flower Markets
- The Travel Industry Moves to Pre-empt Customer Complaints
- Ten Great Movie Theaters Across the Globe
- A Matter of Taste: Europeans on American Food
- When the Fuel Surcharge Costs More Than the Ticket
- When You're Really, Really Footloose
- Continental and United Airlines Closer than Ever
- Taking the Kids: Looking For Those Unique Moments in Orlando
- Slovenia Offers Up Charm Without the Crowds
- 10 Great Cities For Night Owls
- Stop Obsessing Over Airfares and Book Now
- Airport Lounges for the Rest of Us
- Athens, Greece: Offbeat Athens
- Taking the Kids: Putting on the Ritz in Ski Country
- A Few New Websites and Gimmicks
- Six Cards You Need on Your Trip
- 10 Great Places for Dogs and Dog Lovers
- Mandatory Housekeeping Fees May Be Just Around the Corner
- Taking the Kids to Atlantis
- Helsinki and Tallinn: Baltic Sisters
- Cheap Sleeps in Europe
- Indexed Airfares: Deception or Deal?
- Top 10 Easy Rules of Traveling
- Top 10 Places for Afternoon Tea in London
- US Airways Closes a Loophole But Opens a Can of Worms
- United Airlines Sticks with Economy Plus
- TSA Screenings Prompt Cries of Police-State Tactics
- Finding a Good Cruise Agent
- An Inside and Outside Look at Madrid
- Looking at Europe: Part 2
- World's Top Ten Circular Buildings and Structures
- Will This Be the Year for Passenger Rights?
- Delta Drops Mileage Expiration
- Taking the Kids: But Not on an Adult-Only Romantic Getaway
- Taking the Kids: On a Different Spring Break
- Top 5 Vehicles for Ski Week
- Taking the Kids: Learning to Scuba Dive
- World's Top 10 Scariest Places to Look Down
- Top 10 Amenities Travelers Wish Still Existed
- Blockbuster Art Exhibit? Get a Package?
- Taking the Kids To Broadway - 2011
- Discovering Oslo's Inner Tiger
- Losing It All ... and Bouncing Back
- Delta Airlines Opts for Semi-Premium Economy
- 'Easier' Frequent Flyer Seats? Yes -- and No!
(c) 2011 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food, share that passion. They make great cooking easier than you ever imagined. Each feature includes both an expert tip and an easy recipe - exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable.
Recipes Click Here
Movie Reviews, commentary and more. Plus Trailers from movies currently in theaters and available on DVD.
Movie Reviews Click Here