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
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
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
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.