In an increasingly competitive airline industry, providing an exceptional passenger experience has become a crucial differentiating factor for airlines in the Middle East. To gain valuable insights into the passenger experience, Clootrack, a customer insights platform, analyzed a vast dataset of 8,154 customer reviews spanning from January 2022 to January 2023 from the Middle East airlines.
Conducting a comprehensive study based on the valuable feedback and opinions of customers is crucial in gaining meaningful insights into improving passenger experiences. This study promises to offer substantial insights into the passenger experience, revealing trends, strengths, and areas of improvement for the airlines.
By drawing on this extensive dataset, airlines can unlock invaluable insights to better understand their customers' needs, preferences, and expectations, ultimately leading to the optimization of their services and the creation of exceptional passenger experiences.
A Deep Dive into Middle East Airlines: Uncovering the Real Issues Faced by Customers
1. Chronic Flight Delays
A customer says, "exceptionally bad service, including that we were not put on the next flight and have missed all of our plans - including our once in-a-lifetime dinner reservation at the four seasons that we booked 6 months ago and other important plans during our short time in Baku because of terrible scheduling and god-awful customer service. by far the absolute worst, rudest, horrible, most absurd experience I have ever had flying on any airline."
Flight delays lead to a variety of customer disappointments. Here are the major ones:
* Missed Connections: Flight delays often result in passengers missing their connecting flights. This not only disrupts their travel plans but also leads to additional stress and inconvenience.
* Poor Communication: Airlines often fail to provide timely and accurate information about the delay. This lack of communication leaves passengers feeling frustrated and uncertain about their travel plans.
* Inadequate Compensation: Passengers are often dissatisfied with the compensation provided by airlines for the inconvenience caused by the delay. This includes lack of refunds for cancelled flights, no provision of vouchers for food or hotel, and difficulty in getting reimbursements for expenses incurred due to flight delays.
* Poor Customer Service: Long wait times at customer service, unhelpful customer service representatives, and lack of genuine apologies are common complaints. This poor service further exacerbates the frustration and dissatisfaction experienced by passengers.
* Additional Expenses: Flight delays can lead to additional expenses for passengers, such as food, transportation, and accommodation costs. These unexpected costs add to the inconvenience caused by the delay.
* Inconvenience and Discomfort: Long hours spent waiting at the airport, often without adequate facilities or amenities, cause significant inconvenience and discomfort to passengers.
* Impact on Important Events: Flight delays can cause passengers to miss important events or meetings, leading to personal and professional losses.
2. The Turbulent Customer Service Across the Top Brands:
Passengers have reported several concerns, such as receiving conflicting information, experiencing inefficient response times, failure to resolve issues, encountering ignorant employees, non-responsive email communication, and even failing to provide refunds when necessary. These issues have raised questions about the overall commitment these airlines have towards delivering exceptional customer service.
Check what a customer says, "the flight said 01: 20am, the service was terrible, customer service was bad, no one to attend us, even direction to the transfer was not properly assisted and directed so we were going on circles, no staff to attend, everyone is throwing us to another staff, and we were just waiting at different counters going up and down!"
Negative customer experiences in the airline industry often revolve around issues with customer service, flight management, and in-flight amenities.
* Poor Customer Service: Passengers have reported encountering rude, dismissive, and unhelpful customer service representatives. This includes long wait times to reach a representative, lack of empathy, and inadequate responses to customer complaints.
* Flight Management Issues: Frequent flight cancellations, changes, and delays have been a major source of dissatisfaction. Passengers have also reported poor handling of these situations, including lack of communication, inadequate assistance with rebooking, and insufficient compensation.
* Luggage Handling: Lost, delayed, or damaged luggage is another common complaint. Customers have reported lack of assistance in locating delayed baggage and inadequate compensation for lost or damaged items.
* In-flight Amenities: Complaints related to in-flight amenities include poor quality of food, uncomfortable seating, non-working wifi, and outdated entertainment options.
* Booking and Refund Process: Difficulty in changing flight schedules, high fees for flight cancellations, and challenges in getting refunds have also been reported as negative experiences.
* Ground Staff Behavior: Unprofessional behavior from ground staff during check-in, boarding, and flight cancellations has been a source of negative customer experiences.
* Inadequate Handling of Special Requests: Passengers have reported negative experiences related to lack of accommodation for disabilities, dietary restrictions, and other special requests.
3. Baggage Woes
A customer says, “leg of suit case totally ripped off and inside lining exposed during a long haul, recent flight. unable to make claim in airport due to tight travel deadlines”
Baggage handling in the airline industry often presents several challenges for customers. These issues can range from lost or delayed luggage to poor customer service when dealing with these problems.
* Lost or Delayed Baggage: This is a common issue faced by customers where their luggage is either lost or delayed. This can cause significant inconvenience, especially if the luggage contains essential items.
* Mishandling of Baggage: Mishandling can lead to damage or theft of items from checked bags. This includes poor handling leading to broken locks, tampering, or even the incorrect placement of luggage at pick-up lanes.
* Poor Communication: Customers often face a lack of communication or updates regarding the status of their luggage. This can be particularly frustrating when dealing with lost or delayed baggage.
* Inadequate Customer Service: Many customers report unhelpful or rude customer service when dealing with baggage issues. This includes difficulties in reporting and resolving issues, as well as a lack of assistance from airline staff.
* Baggage Policies: Inconsistent enforcement of baggage policies and restrictions on carry-on luggage can also be a source of frustration for passengers.
* Additional Charges: Some customers face issues with being charged for baggage despite having a ticket that includes free checked baggage. This also includes additional charges for overweight or extra baggage.
* Baggage Claim Issues: Long wait times at baggage claim and bags being sent to the wrong claim area are also common problems faced by customers.
4. Boarding Blues
When it comes to the customer experience during boarding, there is no denying that negative reviews are aplenty.
Passengers have repeatedly expressed their frustration over the long waiting times to get their boarding passes, the lack of immediate issuance, and the absence of provisions and care in the event of a stranded flight.
Check a customer verbatim: "do you believe that after completing the online check-in process, we still need to stand in line for 2 hours in the airport to get your boarding passes? The airport staff is the worst I have ever seen in my 16 years of air travel, there was so many families with children standing in line for 2 hrs to get the boarding pass is such a ridiculous!"
Negative customer experiences in the airline industry often revolve around the boarding process, with several key issues frequently mentioned by passengers.
* Flight Delays and Cancellations: Passengers often express frustration over delayed or cancelled flights, which can lead to missed connections and significant inconvenience. This is often exacerbated by a lack of communication from the airline staff about the reasons for the delay or cancellation and the steps being taken to resolve the issue.
* Poor Customer Service: Rude or unhelpful staff, both at the boarding gate and on customer service hotlines, are a common complaint. This can include dismissive behavior, lack of empathy, and inconsistent enforcement of policies.
* Inefficient Boarding Process: Passengers frequently mention long lines, chaotic boarding procedures, and inefficient agents as sources of frustration. This can also include issues with the online check-in process and difficulties in obtaining printed boarding passes.
* Baggage Issues: Problems with baggage, including lost luggage, forced baggage checks without explanation, and inconsistent application of baggage policies, are often cited as negative experiences related to the boarding process.
* Inadequate Communication: Lack of proper communication about gate changes, boarding times, and flight status can lead to confusion and stress for passengers. This can also include being denied boarding without proper explanation or notification.
* Overbooking and Seating Issues: Overbooking of flights can lead to passengers being denied boarding or downgraded without refund. Additionally, passengers often complain about seat changes without notification, families being split up despite booking seats together, and lack of leg room.
* Lack of Accommodations for Special Needs: Difficulties in securing wheelchairs, lack of accommodation for disabilities, and unresponsive customer service in addressing these needs are often mentioned as negative experiences.
* Inadequate Compensation: Passengers often express dissatisfaction with the compensation offered for flight delays, cancellations, or other inconveniences caused by the airline. This can include inadequate travel vouchers, lack of financial compensation for overnight stays at the airport, and difficulties in obtaining reimbursement for errors made by the airline.
5. Frustration Around Booking Experiences
From last-minute seat changes upon boarding to glitches in the booking app and website and even payment problems, travelers encounter many negative booking experiences that can put a damper on their journey right from the start.
Check a customer verbatim: "booked a flight from bangkok to newcastle uk and after booking received an email telling me that the payment had not gone through, so i phoned direct and was met by a wall of incompetent clowns, i eventually said if the payment has failed then cancel altogether and i will rebook. which i did then the jokers took double payment from me told me i would have to wait 20 day to be reimbursed and that was subject to terms and conditions and i would be penalised. these people are so very incompetent!! never again"
Negative customer experiences in the airline industry often revolve around issues with the booking process. These issues can range from technical difficulties to poor customer service.
* Flight Cancellations and Delays: Customers often face issues with last-minute flight cancellations and delays. This can lead to difficulties in rebooking flights, long wait times for customer service assistance, and a lack of compensation for the inconvenience caused.
* Technical Issues with Online Booking Systems: Customers frequently encounter problems with online booking systems, including errors during the check-in process, difficulties in changing flight details, and issues with using points or vouchers for reward flights.
* Poor Customer Service: Many customers report unhelpful and rude customer service representatives, long wait times on hold, and a lack of communication from the airline. This can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction with the booking process.
* Pricing and Payment Issues: Customers often face issues related to pricing and payment during the booking process. This can include increased flight prices during the booking process, double charging for flights, and delayed refunds.
* Inflexibility in Booking Management: Customers often express dissatisfaction with the inflexibility in booking management. This includes difficulties in canceling or modifying bookings, inability to select desirable seats, and issues with group bookings.
* Inadequate Information and Communication: Customers often complain about inconsistent information from customer service and lack of proper notification about flight cancellations or changes. This can lead to confusion and frustration during the booking process.
* Issues with Reward Flights: Limited availability of reward flights and difficulties in using points or companion vouchers for these flights are common issues faced by customers. This can lead to a negative booking experience for frequent flyers.
Smooth Skies Ahead: Enhance Customer Experience and Be the Genie to Your Passengers
Improving the customer experience in Middle Eastern airlines is of utmost importance. Traveling by flight can often be a daunting experience for passengers due to various issues. It is important for airlines to acknowledge these concerns and take proactive steps to provide a better overall experience for their customers.
By taking steps to enhance customer service, address boarding issues, and minimize flight delays, airlines can create a more positive and enjoyable journey for their customers. Ultimately, prioritizing the customer experience will lead to increased customer satisfaction and also help build a strong reputation for Middle Eastern airlines within the aviation industry.
Download the full report here: Global Airline Industry Trends: Customer Review Analysis of Top 12 Airlines Worldwide