New study shows passengers dissatisfied with US airline service

Washington DC
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A new study reveals something that many US airlines have likely already suspected: passengers are not happy with cabin comfort, ticket prices and fees, or in-flight service.

The study, conducted by California-based MarketTools, also found that most passengers were "clueless" about the Passenger Bill of Rights enacted by the US DOT.

A survey was sent to adults over the age of 21 who had flown with a US carrier within a six-month period from November 2010 through April 2011. Some 511 people responded.

The majority, 55%, were unaware of the new rules, which took effect last month, and include items such as limits on flight delays, a requirement for airlines to provide passengers with adequate information and transparency in fees during the purchase process.

Many air travelers are using social media channels to express their displeasure, but only 24% ever received a direct response from an airline, which indicates that airlines should closely monitor social media channels to gauge customer perceptions, the study said.

The dissatisfaction expressed in this survey provides an opportunity for airlines to do a better job, said Justin Schuster, VP of enterprise products at MarketTools.

"Despite the fact that dissatisfaction with key elements of air travel remains high, our study reveals that only 30% of travellers have ever been asked to provide feedback via a customer survey or other means and of those customers who offered feedback, 75% did not receive any type of follow up from the airlines," he added.