Customer experience has always been a hot topic in the airline vertical. Unfortunately, this has often been the case because of the negativity experienced by passengers during the already stressful travel process. This trend has swung upward in recent years, however, and according to a survey from Airlines for America and Ipsos Public Affairs, consumers were overwhelmingly impressed with the CX offered by commercial airlines last year.
The survey’s marquee statistic notes that 85 percent of 2016 passengers were either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their overall experience, indicating a five-point uptick year-over-year. Many airlines have taken strides to improve customer experience in recent months, with Delta being the most recent to step up in this regard.
Priorities for fliers in selecting an airline range from transactional to socially responsible; overall affordability took the top spot in the selection process, with aspects like scheduling, departure reliability, and even environmental responsibility clocking in as factors as well.
Unsurprisingly, security wait times continue to be a major fulcrum for the travel experience; 50 percent of TSA Precheck enrollees indicated they were very satisfied with their travel.
“Enhanced amenities like gourmet food options, further investments in technology, both at the airport and onboard the aircraft, and collaborative industry-government efforts to expedite screening for travelers at security checkpoints are further enhancing consumers’ positive views of air travel today, resulting in even more satisfaction around their flying experience,” said A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich. “Airlines are increasingly enabling their customers to choose the service offerings and price points that meet their individual needs.”
The report shows that of all aspects of the travel experience, customers were most satisfied with checking in for their flight. Much of this is likely owed to the advancement of mobile capabilities, and the convenience offered by boarding passes contained within smartphones.
As airlines continue to be a vanguard in the world of customer loyalty, the vertical seems to be on track in building upon a foundation of strong CX. As customer satisfaction numbers continue to rise, it is intriguing to examine where the brands may look to make improvements going further into 2017.

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