Air travel survey results revealed recently surveyed a segment of its email newsletter
subscribers to determine how consumers felt about air travel in 2007 versus
Not surprisingly, travelers were very unsatisfied in some significant
areas, including price and delays. Reader comments were also solicited, and
overall, the response painted a distressing picture of the state of the
airline industry.

  Readers were asked to rate travel experiences in specific areas,
including airfare purchasing, airport and onboard experiences, and delays.
While many rated certain aspects as being on par with last year, several
areas were significantly worse. Only a small number felt there was some
improvement this year over last.

  “We wanted to get a real picture of how travelers feel the airline
industry is performing, and the results are telling,” said Anne Banas,
executive editor of “Overall, our readers are
dissatisfied with their flight experiences, from the airport to the
in-flight experience. We hope that the industry takes these issues
seriously, and that 2008 provides a much more positive flying experience
for all that take to the skies.”

  Several areas were noted as being worse than 2006, notably pricing,
value, fees, delays and use of award travel. Specifically, 49 percent said
it was harder to find flights at good prices in 2007 compared to those who
thought it was about the same (40 percent) as or better (11 percent) than
last year. The majority of respondents (57 percent) also felt that the
extra fees for onboard food, drinks and entertainment were more common this
year. Value was a big issue for those who chose to comment, as many felt
there was an erosion in customer service. One reader noted, “Air travel is
a joyless experience… there is no longer any difference between airlines
as they all appear to be providing the least amount of customer service
they can.”

  Thirty-four percent of frequent flyers found it harder to use their
miles this year over last, compared to those who found it the same (23
percent) as or better (seven percent) than last. Some frequent flyers even
commented that they had given up their preferred status with airlines
because of inadequate customer service, and many noted that it was now
harder to get a free flight.


  Delays were also a key, yet unsurprising, topic. Most respondents found
an increased frequency in the number of airline delays and cancellations.
Half thought delays had increased over 2007, with 38 percent noting the
frequency was about the same, and only eight percent felt there was an
improvement. Many reader comments noted multiple delays during the course
of travel in 2007, and, again, poor customer service was at the top of
traveler’s complaints.

  The overall forecast for the airline industry wasn’t completely dark;
readers also praised several US airlines, including: Southwest, JetBlue,
Midwest and Continental. International airlines were also heralded for
their customer service and perks.