J.D. Power and Associates 2008 North American Airline Satisfaction Study is out and we spotted an interesting tidbit: The percentage of travelers who say they chose a particular carrier because of its rewards program has increased to 22 percent in 2008 from 14 percent in 2007. This might put a doubt in the minds of those who think the golden age of frequent flyer programs was in the past.
Also of interest, price is the most frequently reported reason for choosing a carrier in 2008 at 39 percent, down from 42 percent in 2007. The percentage of flight reservations conducted online increased from 87 percent in 2007 to 92 percent in 2008 and low-cost carriers lead the way with online reservations. Seventy-eight percent of reservations were made on a low-cost airline Web site in 2007, compared to 85 percent in 2008. For traditional network airlines, 51 percent of reservations were made on the airline’s Web site in 2007, compared to 66 percent in 2008. JetBlue Airways ranked number one for the fourth consecutive year with overall satisfaction for low-cost carriers and Alaska Airlines ranked number one for a traditional network carrier. Overall satisfaction of the airline industry has declined in 2008 to its lowest level in three years with “people” factors like knowledge, courtesy and helpfulness of reservation and gate agents, check-in staff and flight crew causing the most dissatisfaction. The study is based on the responses from 19,701 passengers who flew a major North American airline between April 2007 and March 2008.