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Unlike Congress, U.S. passengers seem extraordinarily forgiving toward airlines

At congressional hearings over the past week on the state of U.S. airlines, politicians accused the industry of anti-competitive behavior, diminishing flight quality and increasing hidden fees. Customers, however, seem to be kinder to the industry.

Recent surveys among North American airline passengers suggest satisfaction is at an all-time high. Overall customer satisfaction with airlines increased for the fifth consecutive year, reaching 756 on a 1,000 point scale — a 30 point change from last year, one new survey by marketing company J.D. Power found. There is one important caveat, however. The survey only covered between April 2016 and March 2017, so the events of the last six weeks — 300 flights canceled by Spirit Airlines and the United Airlines incident where a 69-year-old doctor was dragged off a fight — and for which the airline’s CEO Oscar Munoz repeatedly apologized — weren’t included.

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