Delays help spark dip in airline passenger satisfaction

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Airline passenger satisfaction has declined over the past two years amid disappointment with in-flight experiences, new figures show.

The percentage of people satisfied with their last flight dropped from 90% in spring 2016 to 83% in spring 2018, according to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) research.

The latest survey found that many passengers are unhappy with how common problems are handled, including delays waiting for luggage (58%), long queues at immigration (56%) and flight delays (37%).

Just 77% of passengers were satisfied with the on-board experience during their last flight, down from 81% in spring 2016.

This is the most important factor in determining satisfaction with the overall process from arriving at an airport to collecting baggage on arrival.

Passengers flying from the North East (90%) and the North West (89%) were the most happy, while those from the East Midlands (77%) and Wales (78%) gave the lowest ratings.

CAA director Tim Johnson said: “Although satisfaction remains high at 83%, our last two surveys have shown a reduction from 90%.

“Delays and disruption can be caused by a range of different factors. Some of these are within the control of airlines, and some are not.

“Whatever the cause, these delays can be frustrating for passengers. We expect airlines to always provide prompt and accurate information and if passengers are entitled to further care and compensation, this should be provided without delay.”

A spokesman for Airlines UK, representing UK carriers, said: “UK airlines work hard to ensure that passengers have an enjoyable travelling experience, and as the latest CAA tracker shows, in the vast majority of cases this is already happening.

“Airlines are committed to consistently improving their offering whilst delivering travel at lower cost, and it should be remembered that fares have come down by an average of 40% over the past couple of decades, with more people choosing to travel by air than ever before.

“Occasionally things do go wrong and that is why airlines provide support to passengers, including complying with all legal requirements on passenger rights and consumer protection – paying compensation when it is due and offering great customer service to their 270 million passengers, in what is a highly competitive industry.”

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