PHOTO: Passengers were more satisfied with the flying process in 2016 than the year before. (Photo of Washington Dulles via Flickr/Ciro)
Is it possible?
In an industry that has an entire government agency to track complaints, airline passengers in 2016 were more satisfied than the previous year, according to a new survey.
In its latest commissioned survey called "The Status of Air Travel in the United States," aviation lobby group Airlines for America (A4A) found that nearly half (49 percent) of respondents said they flew commercially at least once in 2016, up from 45 percent in 2015, and that 85 percent of 2016 passengers said they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their experience, up from 80 percent of 2015 fliers.
This includes the 43 percent of passengers who specifically stated they were “very satisfied,” up from 35 percent in 2015. Of the remainder, 10 percent were “neutral” and only six percent were either “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied,” unchanged from 2015.
Take it with a grain of salt that the survey was commissioned by the U.S. airlines’ trade organization and Washington D.C. representatives, but the actual survey itself was conducted by the independent Ipsos Public Affairs group.
The positive results come at a time when many fliers are annoyed with the dubious ancillary fees introduced by the airlines.
READ MORE: The Full Airlines For America Survey
“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,” A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a statement. “Airlines are increasingly enabling their customers to choose the service offerings and price points that meet their individual needs.”
The survey was conducted in January of this year and looked at who was traveling by air, why, where and how often. Travelers were asked to rate their air travel experience, to indicate what factors were considered when purchasing flights and surveyed about their upcoming travel plans.
Passengers were most satisfied with the process of checking in for their flights, followed by shopping for/booking flights, boarding the aircraft, reliability of on-time departure and arrival, awaiting checked baggage upon arrival at destination and getting through security.
The survey also found that more affordable air fares and the convenience of flight schedules would cause them to fly more. Some 83 percent of Americans said they would take as many or more trips in 2017 as they did in 2016.