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Delays, cancellations and frustrations

In August, the British Civil Aviation Authority released data on UK consumer behaviours and attitudes in relation to aviation, following a recent survey

In August, the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) released data on UK consumer behaviours and attitudes in relation to aviation, following a recent survey.


The findings from the consumer survey reveal that despite the healthy appetite for air travel in the British Isles, there is an overall decline in passenger satisfaction. According to the CAA, the survey also suggests significant regional differences in consumer satisfaction with the overall travel experience during their last flight, with people in Wales, the East Midlands and the East of England less satisfied than those in the North East, Scotland and the North West. Delays and disruption are a key issue but of course these can be caused by a wide array of reasons, some caused by the airlines and others beyond their control.


Coincidently, the findings come in the wake of pilot strikes at Ryanair that saw a reported 1 million passengers across Europe affected by significant delays, disruption and cancellations. Following crew scheduling mishaps not that long ago, it’s been a troubling time for the airline lately and to add salt to injury the carrier sent out 190 unsigned compensation cheques to affected passengers which Ryanair said was an ‘administrative error. It should be emphasised that these were a small number of cheques from the 20,000 that were sent out. Ryanair carried 130 million passengers last year and to the airline’s credit many of its operations outside of industrial action run on time.


Back to the CAA survey, one of the key identified drivers of consumer satisfaction is the onboard experience. CAA analysis shows this element of the journey has the strongest impact on levels of satisfaction compared to other aspects. The survey found that passengers are typically less satisfied with the in-flight experience than other aspects of flying. What's more, consumers have become less satisfied with their experience on-board since the survey began, with 81% satisfied in Spring 2016, compared to 77% in the latest findings.


The results of the survey suggest that industry is making progress on how it responds to complaints and treats those with grievances [probably not if you were affected by the Ryanair cheque debacle] but generally, the survey reports that consumers are now more confident of fair treatment should things go wrong and that complaint handling satisfaction levels are at a record high.


Quite frankly, I’m not sure about that.

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