Trend Watch: June 21, 2010

Fliers’ Satisfaction

Reversing three consecutive years of decline, overall customer satisfaction with airlines in North America has increased notably, with 10 of 12 airlines improving from 2009, according to J.D. Power and Associates2010 North America Airline Satisfaction Study.

The study finds that overall customer satisfaction with airlines in 2010 has improved to a three-year high of 673 on a 1,000-point scale, up 15 points from 2009. This is driven by an increase in satisfaction with cost and fees and in-flight services in 2010, compared with 2009.

Alaska Airlines ranks highest in the traditional network carrier segment for the third consecutive year and performs particularly well in six of the seven measures: flight crew, aircraft, boarding/deplaning/baggage, check-in, cost and fees and reservation. For the fifth consecutive year, JetBlue Airways tops in the low-cost carrier segment. The airline scores high particularly in two of the seven measures: aircraft and in-flight services.

An interesting finding of the study has been that overall, satisfaction averages 16 points lower among customers who are assigned a middle seat, than those in a window or aisle seat.  

Flights Within North America Dip  

Airline schedules dropped in June for routes within North America. Comparing June 2010 to June 2007—the last year in which the number of flights within North America actually rose—the cumulative drop in capacity is 8.6 percent. The total seats and flights available this month will be 77.3 million and 853,876 respectively.

That’s a Lot of Krona!

If your clients are looking for a bargain, you may not want to send them to Scandinavia this year. Skyscanner surveyed 1,500 people in the UK and asked which vacation destinations they considered to be the most expensive. Sweden and Norway topped the list, with Denmark and Iceland not far behind. (The UK, which is generally perceived as expensive by U.S. tourists, was not included.) Based on traveler perception, the 10 most expensive countries (including flights) were:

The results were encouraging for North American destinations, though, with the U.S. and Canada being seen as among the more affordable destinations.

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