Industry Analysis: Many Major Airlines Continue Struggle with Consumer Satisfaction

The Airline Quality Ratings Assessment ( AQRA ) is a collaborative study conducted by Purdue and Wichita State universities. Now in its 22nd year, the study uses statistics from the Department of Transportation to rank the highest quality airlines in the industry.

However, by relying solely on data provided to the government by the airlines themselves,  the AQRA can’t readily identify consumer sentiment toward a specific airline.

Given the AQRA’s limitations, Crimson Hexagon took advantage of its ForSightTM social media analysis platform to identify key insights based upon four categories and nine major airlines including: Delta, United, Southwest, American, U.S. Airways, Continental, AirTran, JetBlue and Virgin America.

After analyzing each airline individually, we were relatively surprised by the results.

Not only did the online consumer insight return markedly different results, For example, Crimson Hexagon’s analysis was able to identify several significant differences vs.  certain AQRA rankings. Crimson Hexagon ranked airlines, such as AirTran Airways, at number 4 for consumer satisfaction, whereas it was positioned at very the top of the AQRA list.

Because corporations frequently use Twitter to address customer service issues, it’s expected that a brand will see some negative sentiment communicated via online channels. In most instances, however, the negative commentary is balanced by positive consumer feedback. For example, according to our rankings, JetBlue passes with flying colors, taking the top spot and setting the bar high for other airlines. On the other side of the spectrum, United fails to take off, serving as an example of how to make consumers generally unhappy.

To see how other airlines faired, be sure to download the full version of our complimentary study.

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Written by Wayne St Amand

Wayne St. Amand is a veteran marketing leader with a track record of significantly accelerating the growth trajectory and valuation of technology businesses. At Crimson Hexagon, St. Amand is responsible for driving business expansion through the company's global corporate and product marketing efforts.

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