Falling Traffic Means Better Focus On Passenger Needs
After one of the worst years ever in terms of passenger
complaints in 2007, the nation's airlines posted substantial gains
in 2008 according to a report issued Monday by the Airline
Quarterly Rating, or AQR.
Fox Business reports the AQR report showed a 3 percent
improvement in on-time performance in 2008, compared with 2007
numbers. Complaints among the 17 airlines reporting dropped to 1.15
complaints per 100,000 travelers in 2008... an improvement from the
1.42 complaints per 100,000 fliers in 2007, and the airlines' best
performance in five years.
AQR notes the improvements came as fewer passengers flew on
commercial airlines, due to the slumping economy... a
not-altogether-surprising outcome of having to tend to less
"We know the system performs better when it.s less stressed by
high passenger volume," said Dean Headley, associate professor of
marketing at the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita
State University. "The economy scared away both business and
leisure travelers in 2008."
Overall, Hawaiian Airlines was rated the best airline based on
AQR guidelines, which measure on-time performance, lost baggage,
and flight delays and cancellations. Low-cost giant Southwest
Airlines scored the best regarding passenger complaints, with only
0.25 complaints per 100,000 passengers. The worst performance came
from US Airways, with 2.01 issues per 100,000 passengers... far
above the industry average of 1.15 complaints per 100,000.
Despite what could be rightfully termed a dismal performance,
however, US Airways also took the "most improved airline" award for
2008 in AQR rankings. United, a regular presence at the bottom of
customer satisfaction lists, made the least gains.
The full report, which is compiled annually through a joint
research project funded as part of faculty research activities at
Saint Louis University and Wichita State University, is available
at the FMI link below.