Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 25, 2012 10:53 AM
As airlines have folded and merged and cut flights and laid off employees and jacked up prices on transporting baggage, among other things, it’s been tough for consumers to not get frustrated with them.
But the new American Customer Satisfaction Index indicates that fliers are starting to see the skies as somewhat friendlier. In the first three months of this year, U.S. customer satisfaction with airlines rose 3.1% from a year ago.
"Thanks to operational improvements and fewer weather disruptions, our members are again delivering strong on-time performance and already this year set two all-time records for baggage handling," commented Steve Lott, spokesman for Airlines for America (formerly known as the Air Transport Association of America), about the group's latest press release to USA Today.
As USA Today points out, however, new research from J.D. Power and Associates had things going slightly the other way, putting airlines on the defensive. And hotels and full-service restaurants scored higher than airlines on the ACSI satisfaction list.
ACSI managing director David VanAmburg concludes that the increase actually is more due to consumers getting smarter about avoiding extra fees. "It seems to have gone up a bit because passengers continue to be increasingly savvy about how they fly," he was quoted by USA Today. "Customers are finding ways to avoid fees whenever possible."
Those who pay extra for their bags to fly reportedy, unsurprisingly, a lower satisfaction rate than those who don’t. So keep those carry-ons light and tight, America. You’ll feel better that way.