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Airline Customer Service Improved in 2009

2009 was a great year for getting to your destination on time and with your bags in tow. According to the Associated Press (AP), “Last year, with nearly 70 million fewer passengers boarding planes [since 2007], airlines did a much better job as measured by such basics as on-time performance, mishandled bags, bumpings due to overbooking and consumer complaints.”

The AP story describes information from the Airline Quality Rating (AQR), which regularly issues rankings based upon the above criteria. For example, here’s the AQR’s top five airlines, based on data, for 2009:

  1. Hawaiian
  2. AirTran
  3. JetBlue
  4. Northwest
  5. Southwest

More broadly, the AQR found that “of the 17 carriers rated in both 2008 and 2009, all but Alaska Airlines had improved Airline Quality Rating scores for 2009.” This reflects an overall shift we’ve been tracking as demand for seats diminished and airlines responded by cutting capacity. This is the second straight year the AQR has shown improvements in service, following several years of declining metrics.

Readers, does this mesh with your experience? Do you feel that with fewer flights and passengers, airlines have been able to deliver a better experience? Leave a comment below with your observations and opinion.

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