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Report: Fliers Happier With Air Travel Experiences in 2016

By / Mar 1, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The airline industry is hoping to put its bad reputation among consumers behind it—and, according to a new report, consumers are buying in.

This week, Airlines for America revealed in a new survey that 85 percent of consumers said that they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their air travel experiences last year—a jump of about 5 percentage points from 2015. Most notably, 43 percent of passengers said they were “very satisfied” with their air experiences, according to Status of Air Travel in the United States, a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the trade group.

That’s good news for airlines, which in recent years have taken knocks over service-related issues. A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich credited the positive vibes to efforts by airlines to improve services—including, most recently, a move by Delta Air Lines to offer free in-flight meals on some long-haul flights.

“Enhanced amenities like gourmet food options, further investments in technology, both at the airport and onboard the aircraft, and collaborative industry–government efforts to expedite screening for travelers at security checkpoints are further enhancing consumers’ positive views of air travel today, resulting in even more satisfaction around their flying experience,” Heimlich said in a news release. “Airlines are increasingly enabling their customers to choose the service offerings and price points that meet their individual needs.”

The report, which can be viewed here [PDF], added that many fliers were looking for a combination of low prices, painless schedules, and high comfort with their flights.

Of course, not every airline can claim to feel the love. A separate study from the airline website The Points Guy, also released this week, ranked airlines by satisfaction level and quality. At the top of the list of 10 domestic airlines were Alaska Airlines and United; at the bottom were Frontier and Spirit.

In comments to MarketWatch, Spirit—which tends to lean harder on price than its competitors—said it was working on customer-service problems and had already seen results in improved in-flight performance.

“We’re confident that we’ll have a much better showing in the 2017 study,” a spokesperson for the airline told MarketWatch.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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