Baggage Fees Reduce Customer Satisfaction with Airline Industry
Fees for checked baggage appear to be dragging down customer satisfaction with long-established airlines (such as United Airlines and US Airways) and the airline industry overall, even as satisfaction with low-cost carriers (including JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines) continues to make gains. The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 North America Airline Satisfaction Study released today shows that after two years of industry improvements, the overall passenger satisfaction score, calculated on a 1,000-point scale, declined slightly from 683 in 2011 to 681. The decrease was driven by so-called traditional carriers, whose average score fell four points to 647. Satisfaction with low-cost carriers is significantly higher and getting better, with the average score increasing four points to 754.
The study identifies baggage fees as a major factor in these trends. Scores averaged 85 points lower among passengers who had to pay to check their bags. Whether traditional or low-cost, carriers such as JetBlue, Southwest and Air Canada that do not charge for the first checked bag tended to score particularly well. Still, the study emphasizes that factors such as efficiency and positive interactions with staff and crew had the greatest overall effect on satisfaction and in influencing whether customers intended to fly the airline in the future.
Other findings from the study:
–Alaska Airlines ranked highest among traditional carriers for the fifth year in a row.
–JetBlue ranked highest among low-cost carriers for the seventh year in a row.
–Use of mobile devices to check in has doubled in the last year to 11%. jdpower.com