Claymont, Delaware, May 16, 2023 /- Clootrack, an intelligent customer experience analytics platform, has released a report on the global airline industry, revealing that many customers are dissatisfied with flight disruptions. The study analyzed over 27,000 customer reviews between January 2022 and January 2023 from the world's top 12 airlines.

Clootrack researched customer experience (CX) in the worldwide airlines' category covering the top 12 airlines worldwide, which included American Airlines, Delta Airlines, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Qantas Airways, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Japan Airlines.

Top Customer Concerns in the Airline Industry and the Need for Improved Customer Experience

According to customer reviews in the study, the top five customer concerns are customer service, flight delay, flight cancellation, boarding, and booking experience. 67% of the 14,000 passenger reviews had a negative customer service experience. This dissatisfaction with flight disruptions is causing turbulence in the global airline industry. Airlines must prioritize improving their customer experience by addressing these issues.

Unresponsive staff and lack of communication: How it affects passenger satisfaction

According to the study, "customer service" is the most critical driver of customer experience in the airline industry. However, passengers have expressed deep frustration with unresponsive staff and lack of communication regarding flight delays and cancellations. The impact of these pain points on customer satisfaction and loyalty has been severely negative.

The customer service sub-themes that contribute to higher negative experiences include customer service agents, response time, email updates, and phone calls.

Sub-themes of a flight delay that contribute to higher negativity include disruption of travel plans, lack of customer service and support, lack of communication and refunds, meal vouchers and hotels, and cost of additional flights and hotels.

Subtopics of "flight cancellation" include unexpected cancellations, repeated cancellations, problems with the cancellation window, problems with the cancellation process, unhelpful customer service agents, lack of hotel accommodations, meal credits, compensation, and free Wi-Fi.

These findings underscore the need for airlines to prioritize improving customer service. Passengers expect clear and timely communication about disruptions such as flight delays or cancellations. Passengers may encounter airline staff who could be more helpful, dismissive, or rude, which can add to travel stress. 

In addition, airlines may need to provide clear and timely information about flight disruptions that confuse and frustrate passengers. Unresponsive staff members can make or break a passenger's travel experience. 

Business Class vs. Economy: Major Disparities in Airline Passenger Experience

The highest disparity between business and economy class, at over 20% negative, was for food, in-flight experience, staff helpfulness, seats, and lounge.

Economy class passengers are frustrated with their inflight experience due to cramped, narrow seating, inability to recline easily, lack of legroom, hard seats with little cushioning, cramped and claustrophobic design, unprofessional and & rude staff, inaccurate information, and lack of inflight entertainment. Inadequate food and beverage options further exacerbate the catering aspect. These are limited in quantity and variety, often bland, skimpy, and inappropriate for the length of the trip. 

Other Key Findings from The Airlines Customer Experience Study:

  • Patterns of CX Between Men and Women: This study suggests that women tend to be more dissatisfied with the quality of food and food options on flights. In contrast, men are more satisfied with the beverages and meal service.

  • Most Popular Customer Profiles: Airlines' solo leisure travel, couple leisure, and family leisure travel are more popular customer profiles after economy class and business class based on the last year of customer reviews.
  • Routes With Higher Negativity: Customer service has gathered higher negativity for flights from Miami and Manchester. There have also been higher negative experiences around 'flight delay' for flights starting from Doha. In contrast, passengers from Dubai flights have reported greater negativity with baggage.

By addressing these issues head-on, airlines can retain customers who value their comfort during air travel.

Key Takeaways for All Industries from the Learnings of the Airline Industry 

The airline industry offers valuable insights into the customer experience that can be applied to other sectors. The key to a positive customer experience is efficient customer service that demonstrates empathy. Quick responses to passenger concerns, such as arranging alternative flights, refunds, complimentary meals, accommodations, and local transportation, can help build a positive image and long-term relationships. Maintaining high transparency in operations and activities can also help build customer trust and positive relationships. Therefore, it is crucial to communicate with customers as soon as possible and provide them with all available information. 

To download the full Insight report, visit Global Airline Industry Trends: Customer Review Analysis of Top 12 Airlines Worldwide.

These insights were the subject of a discussion on the CX See Why show hosted by Dan Gingiss, an international CX keynote speaker. He was joined by Noam Alon, Captain of a major U.S. airline, to discuss customer experience in the airline industry.

About Clootrack: 

Clootrack is an intelligent customer experience analytics platform for enterprises and high-stake decision-makers. Clootrack's powerful AI-driven engine helps brands understand the qualitative reasons "why" their customer experience drops. All in real-time.  

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