INTERNATIONAL: Carriers under fire in new Airline Quality Rating poll

CHICAGO: Airline PR heads were the focus of intense media attention last week when the results of the new Airline Quality Rating study were announced. The survey shows consumer complaints rose by 130 per cent in 1999.

CHICAGO: Airline PR heads were the focus of intense media attention

last week when the results of the new Airline Quality Rating study were

announced. The survey shows consumer complaints rose by 130 per cent in

1999.



Dean Headley, associate professor of marketing at Wichita State

University and one of the study’s authors, said the results suggested a

major perception gap between what airlines say they are doing and how

customers feel about them.



Southwest and Continental came out on top of the league - having the

least complaints about their services - closely followed by Delta in

third. American Airlines and TWA managed only a middling

performance.



Headley said that some airlines that had done well in past studies had

hyped the results in their PR efforts. US Air once put up banners

touting its rankings at airports around the US.



Northwest airlines, which suffered a barrage of consumer complaints in

1999, came out as most improved airline in the survey, ranking fourth

overall.



Many airline PROs believe the survey hurts their industry. ’Although we

might do very well, if the industry as a whole is having problems, it

causes us problems,’ said Christine Turneable-Connelly, regional

communications specialist for the Southwest Airline.



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