Why You Should Still Hate Airlines

A recent study released by J.D. Power and Associates found that overall airline customer satisfaction has actually improved in 2010, ending a three-year decline in marks for the industry.

Collectively, the airline industry received 673 points on a 1,000-point scale, improving by 15 points from the 2009 score of 658. This improvement was driven by an increase in cost, fee and in-flight service satisfaction, but researchers speculate the economic downturn is what’s really causing the uptick. See, it’s not that airlines have enhanced their customer service. It’s that fewer people are actually traveling. This means there’s less baggage to lose and more of a chance planes will make it in on time.

According to J.D. Power and Associate’s press release,“many of the same macroeconomic conditions that adversely impact airlines financially, including lower fares, have led to improvements in satisfaction.  For example, with fewer passengers traveling and fewer flights in the air, on-time performance has improved.”

Additionally, while customers may not like add-on fees (for baggage, snacks, toddlers, etc.), we’ve grown accustomed to them. (Not good, folks. Our gradual acceptance of extra charges will invariably lead to more, and pretty soon, we’ll be paying to pee on planes. Oh … wait a minute.)

MainStreet may not have found this study’s results too alarming (673 points out of 1000, after all, isn’t exactly something to write home about). However, earlier this year, another study conducted by the University of Michigan produced similar results: passenger satisfaction with airline service rose 3.2%, the first increase in six years.

Of course, these researchers also discovered that the number of travelers significantly diminished. It seems Americans aren’t happy passengers, we’re just complacent ones.

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